Unsteady, Monique Ferrell's first full-length collection of poetry and dramatic monologues, is an examination of a life in progress. The verse in this collection delves deeply into such themes as race, class, violence, gentrification, sexuality, celebrity, love, and politics. It is designed to explore the life issues of which we are all so certain, but hopes to express that uncertainty—being unsteady—is normal and can lend itself to deep reflection and creativity. In its pages, you will find poems about infamous cultural figures like Billie Holiday, Mike Tyson, and Tennessee Williams. Additionally, the reader will find poems about a mother who made a difficult and irrevocable decision during Hurricane Katrina, and about the late Lashaundra Armstrong—a woman who drove herself and her five children into the Hudson River during the winter of 2011. It is a visceral examination of things that matter to the writer, and in the end, after your own examination, things that will matter to you as well.
Monique Ferrell's book Unsteady is a powerful, passionate, blues song that teaches us about grief and loss and survival. It is full of muscular, energetic language and poems, and above all, it is unforgettable. Ferrell is a poet to be read over and over. She pulls us into her world and makes us see it through her amazing eyes.
—Maria Mazziotti Gillan
Editor, Paterson Literary Review
Monique Ferrell's poems are porcelain figurines, finely wrought, chipped in places, smiling wryly, and brought to life as Billie Holiday, Dorothy Dandridge, Mike Tyson, your mother, your sister, your brother, your child, your half-scrutable closest friend. Her poet's voice penetrates the silence of their heartache and regret with a feeling for lost feeling and a steely staccato songbook all her own. Ferrell’s art simply matters.
author of Low Italian and New York and Other Lovers, Poetry Editor of 2 Bridges Review