"A stunningly potent archive of surviving... Meissner believes in the powers of seeing, testifying, and saying what is most difficult. Running through the blood of this book I hear Audre Lorde's charge: ‘Your silence will not protect you.’”

— Aracelis Girmay,
author of The Black Maria

 

Illustration from the book by Caits Meissner

Meissner's coming-of-age poems seek to anchor their place in a messy world, blurring the edges of hard borders and disparate identities. Finding joy, connection and determination in desperate spaces, as well as the slippery terrain of a changing self, Meissner's voice is at once a reckoning, a proclamation, and an open question. Sprinkled with the author's illustrations, the book's multidisciplinary approach also includes lesson plans, originally utilized in a women's prison, that invite the reader to write their own way out of polarizing dichotomies — and into the vast grey space of what it means to be alive.

Order the book here.
 


excerpted poetry comics 


recent press


kind words 

In an age of humble bragging, viral narcissism and false modesty, it’s invigorating to be in the presence of true vulnerability. Sometimes it’s expressed as timidity or hesitation, but always it reveals another layer of unexamined darkness. Other times, these revelations are brazen, even proud, acceptances of the weird, unexplainable, tricky nuances of human behavior. Let It Die Hungry is a daring call for self-acceptance, an invitation to feast on our true selves, and to live fully.
— Jahan Mantin, Columbia Journal
I have never seen anything like Caits Meissner’s first solo collection: Let It Die Hungry. Brave. Eclectic. Essential. Especially in this day and age when the rats in power are filling the swamp with evil droppings. Let It Die Hungry is a manifesto, a manual, a survivor’s message-in-a-bottle and a battle-cry.
— DM O'Connor, New Pages book review
Caits Meissner’s Let It Die Hungry is a kind of interactive playbook that uses one’s own inner landscape as clues for a way out of the cyclical maze of the human condition.... Meissner has a knack for spotting the smallest barriers within us, walls most of us cannot recognize at a first glance, and she provides the tools with which we can break them down. In this work, we see the constant questioning of a self-proclaimed hopeful cynic and it works so well because it is not only the work challenging the reader, but the opposite as well – an interchangeable ballet of challenger vs. challenged.
— Kate Rainey, 3:AM Magazine
Caits Meissner writes in the tradition of Levertov and Forche.  A clear eyed witness with an intense lyric sensibility, her poems illuminate the shadows of self and society that lie outside the margins of acceptable discourse.  There is no point at which she endeavors to comfort or assuage.  Which is to say, Meissner is that rare poet who can simultaneously and sincerely give a damn… while also giving zero fucks.
— John Murillo, author of Up Jump the Boogie
Caits Meissner’s Let It Die Hungry deals with the difficulty of the body, the “human robe” (as she aptly calls it) that hinders and endangers the soul beneath. It’s an intense book—at times violent and vulnerable— a dangerous but brave place for readers, filled with dreams, fantasy, nightmare, all mixed-in with stark reality. These poems are human and wise, and in the writing prompts, the reader is helped along in the struggle to better understand oneself. This is a wildly exciting debut book.
— Bianca Stone, author of Someone Else's Wedding Vows
This is a fascinating collection that captured my imagination immediately with its multi-pronged approach. Caits Meissner fuses poetry, prose, prompts, and comic panels to address an endless curiosity and appetite for getting messy (in the best way)... This is a collection I could (and plan to) read multiple times to really catch all the beautiful and messy clarity oozing from each page.
— Wren, Hazel&Wren
In this collection dedicated to the women poets of Afghanistan that concludes with a poem for the women poets at Bedford Hills Correctional Facility, Caits Meissner writes with great urgency of lives and landscapes scarred by conflict and pain. But even as her rangy, associative poems take us into terrain of turmoil, her compassion for her subjects offers the possibility of reconciliation through the very recognition that poems provide.
— David Groff, author of Clay