Poetry, chapbook, 52 pages, from Bottlecap Features.
Romy Rhoads Ewing’s debut chapbook, please stay, is a collection of sixteen poems. Challenged by one of her best friends to write 365 poems in 365 days, please stay is a compendium of the highlights of that project in its very infancy.
Despite its creation solely during one spring in 2023, the work is divided into four chapters: spring, summer, autumn, and winter, with four poems representing each season.
please stay could not exist without Ewing’s own upbringing in Sacramento: the poems featured were written in heat waves, on manzanita-laden trails, in the dirt-sweet waters of the Lower American, in the best gay bars on K Street, in swallowing fog, in oaks with arms outstretched asking to be climbed, on the Blue Line all the way down to I-80, and in infinite bushes of camellias.
Interwoven with motifs of desperation as flattery, neuroses as adoration, and terror as vigor, please stay is an attestation to the way we survive: hope is built into the work, but it’s hiding. Ewing draws from her own experiences with gender, with sexuality, with Northern California, but also with anxiety so palpable and fervent it makes the skin crawl, with the way we attach ourselves like mollusks to sinking ships, and the way there is love in everything.
Romy Rhoads Ewing is a writer and photographer from Sacramento, California. Her creative nonfiction and visual work has been published in UC Davis’s flagship literary magazine, Open Ceilings Magazine. She received her Bachelor of Arts in Child Development from Sacramento State University. Her sun, Mercury, and Venus are all in Pisces, and she is a complete sucker for hopeless romanticism, Y2K shoujo anime, gin and tonics, habaneros, disc golf, and, of course, everyone who inspired and supported her through the making of please stay. This work is ultimately the culmination of her time as many things: a short-lived community college cheerleader, a barista in a drive-through coffee shop, a solidly mediocre trip-sitter, a substitute teacher, a waitress at a craft brewery, a teacher’s aide at a mentalhealth facility, a baker at a donut shop, and more. Her most formative artistic influences have been Lana del Rey, Lorde, Sufjan Stevens, Melissa Broder, Sally Rooney, Louise Glück, Billy Collins, Mary Oliver, Charles Bukowski, Kurt Vonnegut, Kevin Wilson, Richard Siken, and Elle Nash. She is currently studying Japanese and pursuing a second degree in Anthropology.