Lauren L. Wheeler’s debut poetry collection, In Between Places, lyrically explores family mythology and the fallibility of memory. The poems act as mile markers in a Black woman’s literal and figurative journey across decades and across the country, in a search for home in different cities—and people. From a sense of longing and displacement, the collection arrives in a place of stability, resilience, and triumph.
EARLY PRAISE FOR IN BETWEEN PLACES
“Wheeler’s debut collection archives the lost and left. Its poems toggle between presence and absence, avoidance and collision, intimacy and estrangement. Objects like a Craigslist bed and trashed concert flyers become memorabilia of the almost, records of fracture and displacement. Wheeler minds the gaps with acerbic lines, chronicling an inherited impermanence with wit. ‘My grandmother left me leaving,’ she writes. That heirloom wanders with readers through coffee shops, public toilets, the apartments of lovers and strangers. In Between Places makes and unmakes home with each poem, grieving the transience of ‘Always leaving from, never going to’ while savoring the hard-fought arrivals: ‘Tonight we are saved.'”
Kemi Alabi, author of Against Heaven, winner of the Academy of American Poets First Book Award
“In Between Places is an epic achievement of a first book. It plants Lauren Wheeler as an absolute force of nature in the current American poetry landscape. This first book is a gorgeous and lush indictment of family, love, race, and American culture. From the Great Lakes to NYC to California—Wheeler forges a path full of empathy, cynicism, self preservation, and love—so much love.”
Cindy Emch, “First Lady of Queer Country” and founder of The San Francisco Queer Open Mic