Poetry, prose, chapbook, 32 pages, from Bottlecap Features.
Violets for Sappho is Michelle Rochniak’s love letter to the tenth Muse. It is the story of a first queer relationship told through poems of various forms, including a cover letter, a table of contents, and a treaty. Violets for Sappho is an exploration of gender and sexuality and how to juggle those feelings while harboring a crush on the cutest girl in school.
Violets for Sappho contains everything from references to Greek mythology to the gayest pining you’ve ever seen to the acts of self-discovery through a relationship. It is queer awakening, queer living, and queer breathing.
"From crushes to relationships, Michelle Rockniak's debut chapbook Violets for Sappho is a stunning ode to sapphic love and longing. I was moved by her powerful dismantling and breaking of gender in 'Final Paper Assignment for a Class No One Will Take', her quiet observations of the person she loves in a private moment in 'Pills and a Puppy', her grief for what is implied to have been lost in 'Sapphic Supreme'. They took me to a place where love is sensitive and delicate and complicated, on the fringes of something larger, where queer girls can exist on peaceful, cottage-core-like outskirts and allow their love to flow out with restriction, even when it hurts. She truly made me fall in deeper love with love and all the different ways it can manifest. The best part is this is only the beginning of what is sure to be a long and beautiful life-long pursuit of poetry, and I'm both grateful for what they have made in this moment and excited for what is to come."
-Sofía Aguilar, author of STREAMING SERVICE: golden shovels made for tv (2022) and co-founder/EIC of Mag 20/20
"In the span of a mere 12 poems in Violets for Sappho, Michelle Rochniak makes a perfect case for the beauty of all genders, the beauty of all love, whoever you love love, and just plain old infatuated, lusty, sweet, innocent, painful love. But it's not only about the blushes and kisses-Michelle Rochniak’s debut brings the muses and mermaids to a battle in the courts; and she wins."
-Brian Clements, author of A Book of Common Rituals and other books of poetry
"Violets for Sappho is an ode to coming into oneself as a queer person, which will resonate with readers of any identity. Rochniak conveys striking feelings through playful forms, asking readers to face both the beauty and the pain that coexist within ourselves. This is a book filled with emotion and creativity. The tenth muse must be proud."
-Adrienne Rozells, author of Caryatid Heart (Alien Buddha Press, 2022) and Editor-in-Chief of Catchwater Magazine
Michelle Rochniak (she/they) is a mythology-obsessed poet from Connecticut (USA). She majors in professional writing and minors in women’s studies at Western Connecticut State University. They also were a 2022 CT Collegiate Poet with the Connecticut Poetry Circuit. Current publications include the truth is in the stars (Fifth Wheel Press), lavender lime literary, and Vinaigrette (Violet Indigo Blue, Etc.). Follow them! IG: @shell.songs | Twitter: @shellroch