A New Kind of Tongue

As a collection, Genevieve Betts’ A New Kind of Tongue includes poems that are sometimes quirky, sometimes lyrical, sometimes edgy, and sometimes humorous. Language—our understanding of it, its regionality, and its many intricacies—is a main theme rooted within the book’s strong sense of place. Between the east coast, specifically Brooklyn, and the southwest, specifically Santa Fe, comparisons are made, narratives are shared, and observations are acknowledged. A series of centos is also braided throughout this collection that exclusively uses language from outside texts such as Haruki Murakami's Kafka on the Shore, Tom Robbins' Even Cowgirls Get the Blues, David Mitchell’s Ghostwritten, and Angela Carter’s short story “The Bloody Chamber.” Betts reshapes the language of these texts to speak her own voice through the voices of others. This voice and her lens takes a feminist perspective with subject matter that includes family, work, the political climate, and other aspects of life, revealing hidden truths alongside shared truths of these recently-lived experiences.


Genevieve Betts is an alumna of ASU's MFA program in creative writing. Her full-length poetry collections include A New Kind of Tongue (FlowerSong Press, 2023) and An Unwalled City (Prolific Press, 2015). Her work has appeared in Sleet Magazine, Hotel Amerika, The Tishman Review, The Literary Review, Cloudbank, Sky Island Journal, and in other journals and anthologies. She is an assistant professor of English at Santa Fe Community College and teaches for Arcadia University's low-residency MFA program in Glenside, PA.

Praise for this book

A New Kind of Tongue bristles with the shockwaves of such urgent conversation and collision of the body (both human and non-human), and the malign language and dictates—of capitalism, of policing, of patriarchal expectations of “motherhood” and sex—that bombard the body. Punctuated by a series of brilliantly destabilizing centos, A New Kind of Tongue flicks forth a fresh and reinvented linguistics of the liminal, of the body cartwheeling amid portals, temporal and geologic. But the lucid dream that these poems spin is not merely nightmarish, but the nightmarish as innately sumptuous...

Matthew Gavin Frank Author of "Flight of the Diamond Smugglers" and fellow ASU alumnus

The poems in this fine collection are like a kaleidoscopic portal into all of the vagaries of the natural and embodied world, spanning the streets of Brooklyn to the arid desert, from rooftops to tumbleweeds, from the mother as oracular looking into her babies corneas to see the future to computers that might just dream; in essence, violent and beautiful life, both lived and imagined. Betts not only casts aside the rose-colored glasses, but crushes them beneath her feet. These poems are pandemic-tinged, vibrant and visceral treatments of experience magnified beyond the imagination.

Michelle Reale Author of "Season of Subtraction"
Glass looking squares reflecting the sky in the middle of a desert landscape
Date published
FlowerSong Press

Get this book