In poems inspired by and sometimes borrowing their forms from the novena, a nine-day Catholic prayer addressing and seeking intercession from the Virgin Mary, Jacques Rancourt explores the complexities of faith, desire, beauty, and justice. Novena is a collection that invites prayer not to symbols of dogmatic perfection but to those who are outcast or maligned, LGBTQ people, people in prison, people who resist, people who suffer and whose suffering has not been redeemed. In Novena, the Virgin Mary is recast as a drag queen, religious icons are merged with those who are abolished, and spiritual isolation is scrutinized in a queer pastoral.
Jacques Rancourt has received a Wallace Stegner fellowship from Stanford University, the Halls Emerging Artist Fellowship from the Wisconsin Institute for Creative Writing, and a residency from the Cité Internationale des Arts in Paris, France. His poems have appeared in the Kenyon Review, jubilat, New England Review, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, and Best New Poets 2014, among others. As founding editor, he manages the literary journal, Devil's Lake.
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