Tina Mozelle Braziel (Poetry) | Remlap, AL
Tina Mozelle Braziel, author of Known by Salt (Anhinga Press) and Rooted by Thirst (Porkbelly Press), has been awarded the 2017 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry, a fellowship from the Alabama State Council on the Arts, an Eco Poetry Fellowship from the Magic City Poetry Festival, and an artist residency at Hot Springs National Park. She has been nominated for inclusion in Best of the Net for her poetry and a Pushcart Prize for her poetry and creative nonfiction. As a student of University of Oregon’s MFA program in poetry, she was awarded a MFA scholarship to the Sewanee Writers’ Conference in 2013. Her work has appeared in The Cincinnati Review, Southern Humanities Review, Tampa Review, and other journals. She directs the Ada Long Creative Writing Workshop for high school students at the University of Alabama at Birmingham. She and her husband, novelist James Braziel, live and write in a glass cabin that they are building by hand on Hydrangea Ridge.
- Rooted by Thirst (Porkbelly Press 2016). Poetry.
Blurbs, Press, & Reviews
If the poems Tina Mozelle Braziel writes were houses, they’d be ones into which anyone would feel welcomed. But to say that her writing has a conversational ease, or even that it is salted with the very best of the vivid vernacular of the Southern place it praises, does not fully represent the considerable poetic skill she chooses to use with humility. More than any defense of her working class background Braziel states outright, what so effectively makes this book’s case that great beauty can arise from trailer parks, or any origins, is the craft of her deftly-timed lines. Braziel can construct actual buildings out of wood and nails, and her poems turn burning trash into treasure and grit into a pearl. Yet, perhaps even more significant than what she creates is how she illuminates what is already here: how a woman setting a Formica table with cornbread is comparable to a Greek statue, and the home you have is reason lay on down, to stay right where you are, and make an artful life of perceiving it.
—Rose McLarney, National Poetry Series Winner for Its Day Being Gone
Beauty is a rare thing, but this poet finds it everywhere. Tina Mozelle Braziel is the finest Southern poet of her generation. God bless her and her incredible work.
—Dennis Covington, National Book Award Finalist for Salvation on Sand Mountain
Tina Braziel’s Known by Salt is very much a book of celebrations. One arc of the book is the move from a life in trailer parks to a house that Tina and her husband build with their own hands, stud by stud, window by window. It is also a celebration of Alabama, with its forests, its rivers and lakes, and its creatures: snakes, deer, birds, lizards. Her observations are so keen — ‘herons lift their backward knees’ — that they make me laugh out loud in my own celebration. This attention to detail is what Roethke called long looking, and it is everywhere in these well-wrought poems.”
—C.G. Hanzlicek, 2017 Judge, Philip Levine Prize for Poetry
“Covering the wide expanse of Alabama’s waterways and terrain, Braziel draws her reader from dirt to a trailer’s cool underbelly to the studs of a home built by her hands. In doing this, she capitalizes on the way home can be both a place one is fastened to and simultaneously rebuilding.”
—Cassie Mannes Murray, Raleigh Review
“This collection is a stunning portrait of the American South. But more than that, Known by Salt is a generous glimpse into how place, memory, inheritance, and joy work together to make a home. It is both a realisation and a reassurance that home, and even homeland, are always changing.”
—Alycia Pirmohamed, The Scores
“With a grace that honors her roots, yet soars beyond, Tina Mozelle Braziel has written a singularly beautiful, intelligent, and accessible collection of poems in Known by Salt …. While many poets use everyday images, hers resonate with a wholesome crispness that refreshes, like the simplicity of William Carlos Williams’ ‘plums that were in the ice box.’ Yet Braziel’s images—like Williams’—speak volumes about human experience and evoke themes of loss, growth, bravery, and transcendence.”
—Claire Matturro, First Draft
“…the poems in Known by Salt thrum inside me with a pulsing sense of truth that make them seem as if I have lived every single one of the stories conveyed. And this truth is, despite the sometimes difficult nature of it, intensely beautiful. Compellingly beautiful. This is the kind of truth that, like the salt that becomes one of the motifs in the book, not only flavors things, but is as necessary an element in our lives as blood, as breath. ”
—Lana K. Austin, Alabama Writers’ Conclave