|BROADSTONE BOOKS announces
|Publication Date: August 15, 2019
Paperback, 96 pages
Booksellers: Available from
Small Press Distribution
Rebecca Lilly holds degrees from
Cornell (M.F.A., poetry) and Princeton
(Ph.D., philosophy) Universities and
works as a writer, photographer, and
assistant to a landscape architect. She has
published eight collections of poems,
including You Want to Sell Me a Small
Antique (Gibbs Smith), which won the
Peregrine Smith Poetry Prize, as well as
several collections of haiku from Red
Moon Press. Her poems and flash fiction
have appeared widely in journals in the
U.S. and abroad, such as The Iowa
Review, London Magazine, Stand, New
American Writing, Conjunctions,
Rosebud, and Phantom Drift.
Strange practices I’m acquainted with! One
part of myself, a crazed character, talks to
another in an alphabetical degeneration.
It’s not the way of the shaman, but my own
In the poem “An Abstract Piece” an imagined work of art is described “As if you’d
dipped your foot in quicksand / lit with fairy dust… / No book could do / it justice.”
That’s an apt description for this collection as well, except this book does do justice to
Rebecca Lilly’s fantastical visions, which are indeed shamanic.
Physics tells us that could be other universes parallel to our own, and to open this
book is to stumble headlong into just such a universe, a strange and yet strangely
familiar world of mirrors, shadows, and doppelgangers, where the “creatures among
us” are often our other possible selves. That these realms seem so reasonable, so fully
realized, is a triumph of Lilly’s language, which is in every sense of the word spell-
binding. There are also many appearances of graveyards and funeral parlors and their
functionaries, the instrumentalities of death, but never merely morbid, more another
indication of commerce between worlds – like “The Stone” which is described as
a peephole on the cosmos,
holding the sun’s heat even as it darkens–
a remnant of its previous life when the stone
was a star.
And what of the one who conjures these visions? “I’ve always been a fan of Grimm
adages”, she admits at one point, and appropriately she returns to this fairy tale world
in the closing lines, where, as the “Lady of Antiquity,” she says of herself
I’m no queen. More a
jack of all trades, or a wolf in the bonnet and
dress of an old maid.
Don’t let her disguise fool you – this is a cunning, audaciously original work, and world.
Praise for Rebecca Lilly & Creatures Among Us
Creatures Among Us turns loose the daredevil imagination and atmospheric chills I’ve
always hoped for in poetry but rarely encounter. Whether we’re whispered to by
water goddesses, peeping into secret rooms of funeral parlors through the lens of the
Rosicrucians, or breathed on in a closet by a reaper who suggests Halloween dress-up
parties, Rebecca Lilly’s splendid collection will hold readers spellbound.
Matt Schumacher, editor of Phantom Drift
Dark and imaginative, Rebecca Lilly’s Creatures Among Us takes time to fully
unearth, and so it should not be approached lightly. Switch off electronic devices,
light a black candle and allow yourself to sink, delicately, into its arcane depths as
though it were a hot spring or – perhaps more fittingly – an open grave.
Timothy Grayson, poet in residence, Belvoir Castle
In Creatures Among Us Rebecca Lilly has created a thrilling world of haunted
landscapes, shadow-shifting, graveyards, and eerie moonlight. In blocks of words that
seem to scroll down screens we hear voices of the dead, alter-egos, doppelgangers, in
monologues and dialogues, in magical combinations of fairy tale, philosophy, and
dramas of cryptic mythology. With characters like Lucifer, The Reaper, shamans,
wizards, oracles, and gravediggers, we are drawn into delightful dreams inhabited by
glow-worms, ghosts, funeral directors, contending with insomnia and mystery. You
have not read anything quite like these poems, which carry the reader away on a
voyage of surprise and wonder, and you will never forget them.
Robert Morgan, author of Dark Energy
A dizzying journey through otherworldly realms with a shape-shifting narrator at the
helm. Through dream sequences and fantastical characters, Rebecca Lilly explores
timely topics in the age of social media: the identities we assign ourselves, and the fear
of losing authentic connections with others.
Anne James, founding editor, Zymbol
“A ghost wrote this poem,” writes Rebecca Lilly in Creatures Among Us. That’s one
many-genred apparition! It’s spooky with poem-energy, dialogue-sass, micro-fiction-
enigma, and the altered states of fable. Together, they present a world that is strangely
and ineluctably immediate. Wizards, oracles, fakirs, sorcerers, and Presbyterians are
walkabout citizens, offering comments and koans. Omens, glyphs, witchcraft, casino
pamphlets, and hermetic script are the chirography of this dimension, which shimmers
all around us – in classrooms, funeral parlors, sanatariums, woodsy hideouts, Malibu
castles, and comfortable beds. “'Your hands grasp the bowl of an abyss,'” says one
creature, an “Elder.” Reading Creatures Among Us, I felt I was grasping a beautifully
crafted figure of what pulses within and just beyond words. I join the creatures who
“raise our hats to the phantoms” of this unique parade.
Philip Brady, author of To Banquet with the Ethiopians
Prose Poems by