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Melissa Broder

Melissa Broder is the author of two poetry collections, Meat Heart and When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother. She edits La Petite Zine and curates the Polestar Poetry Series. By day is a publicity manager at Penguin.


“This debut from Broder…is as funny and hip as it is disturbing…These poems are also quirkily compassionate…sexy, and at times even gross… Throughout, Broder searches for a place to stand, and for an object for her considerable sympathies. This is a bright and unusual debut.”

– Publishers Weekly

“…obsessive, energetic and pop-culture-infused poetry…”

– Time Out New York

“When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother characterizes a new generation of poets who have cast off the safety net of simple repartée. . . . Broder’s insight and honesty will make your brain light up and your hair stand on end.”

– The San Francisco Examiner

“Broder’s verse is acrobatic and whip-smart. . . . These poems go on gut rhythm and beg for exclamation in a crowded room rather than the mute restraint of the printed page. And that’s a good thing too.”

– Bomb

"Broder reminds us that we come from the womb, but there’s no returning thereto. Yet, with a delightful balance between the dark and the heady, the poems provide a sense that revelry in moments of bleakness is always both possible and desirable."

– American Book Review

“Broder’s observations on the meaning and nonsense of pop culture are penetrating and illuminating . . . a vibrant and eclectic collection.”


“Broder can work with anything—from the Dixie cups at the methadone clinic to pots of chicken soup . . . a major statement from a poet with skill and soul.”

– decomP

“Lusty, obsessive, and drug-fueled are words not usually used to describe a book of poems—but in this case, they apply. Melissa Broder’s work offers readers a rush, buzz, panoply of pop culture, as well as her own boisterous brand of dark humor. But be warned: behind the irrepressible excess, an extremely clear-headed and sharp-witted poet is taking notes. Her unique gift for being both grounded and giddy at once gives this writing its delightfully wicked edge.”

– Elaine Equi, Ripple Effect

“Melissa Broder’s poems are bad-ass ninja assassins smoking Camel straights and drinking Tab in blood-soaked satin tutus. . . . She speaks in many tongues, and all of them bite.”

– Jennifer L. Knox, Drunk By Noon

“Broder surveys the public and private landscapes of America in this sticky, syrupy late night breakfast of contemporary culture. . . . Everything you love and hate about consumer culture and the media is in this book.”

– Matthew Rohrer, Rise Up

“Melissa Broder’s ebullient, essayistic poems pay attention to sounds and sense, rousing tunes out of Duane Reades and words like “unhitchery” equally. She addresses her poems to a world of non-poetic people who might find themselves in her poems: people with acne, teenage waifs, and aging anarchists alike. They are cosmopolitan in a playful kind of way. They’re super poems.”

– Daniel Nester, How to Be Inappropriate

"Broder speaks with tart charm and arresting detail of a generation figuring out how and what to love. Her poems are droll, edgy, a little on edge, and deftly poetic. Even when they speak out of the side of their mouth, under their breath they are wonderfully, and subversively, moral.”

– David Groff, Theory of Devolution

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When You Say One Thing But Mean Your Mother

Melissa Broder On Reading


I am a very hungry and thirsty girl.

I have an infinite god-shaped hole inside.

I want to be sated and de-thirsted 24 hours a day.

If I can’t be sated and de-thirsted 24 hours a day I want to be lifted up out of my body so I don’t have to feel anything or so I can feel only euphoric.

Sometimes poetry does one of these things for me: sates or de-thirsts or lifts.

I read my first poems at six.

I wrote my first poems at eight.

I have since tried many other ways to fill the god-shaped hole, but poetry is one of the safest ways I know how.

The main consequence of reading poetry, for me, is writing poetry.

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1 Comment

  1. Jordan Blum said on 02/23/12 at 7:09 pm Reply

    Yeah, it kind of happens like that.


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