In her debut collection, Iknadossian explores the sacred feminine through characters from the bible, mythology and history who have been marginalized or misrepresented. In six sections, each titled after a specific manifestation of the sacred feminine, Iknadossian reveals her relationship to the divine and the risks one must take to find their own goddess within.
Praise for All That Wasted Fruit:
What does country mean, what does father, or mother, or lover, or sweet fruit, mean for an Armenian woman in America? For a woman whose name also means a “home” always seas and memories away? Iknadossian’s poems build a strange and dreamlike landscape—of imagery, passion, and fury, of language, fruit, body and sea—which feel like possible answers to those questions. There is a more-than-American femininity at work here, a voice who is aware of both her wounds and her healing, a voice who has known and still carries wars and loves and stories which began long before the ones we have known in America. The final lines of the book, send us out into our new world, with a prayer, or a spell, or a demand: “Grant me the beauty left behind by fire. // Grant me the strength of the oldest volcano. / Grant me the words to risk everything.”
— Natalie Diaz, When My Brother Was An Aztec
“…an exciting new voice. I found a few poems of hers on the web, and know now to watch for her first book to appear.”
— H.L. Hix, from Best American Poetry blog
Arminé Iknadossian writes as someone who has dipped into the mysteries, the sacred and the profane, and returned with a language charged with blood, wine and fire, flower and flesh. Her connection to ancient mythologies, early knowledge, runs deep and wild through her writings, and this she leverages against the ordinariness of the contemporary world. It makes for an uncommonly striking first book from a gifted poet of our region.
— Suzanne Lummis, Open 24 Hours
“Think of a room you have not bled in,” commands Arminé Iknadossian in All That Wasted Fruit. The book is a rubine howl at the ravages of patriarchy, war, exile and religions that would rob women of their mysteries. Iknadossian immerses the reader in flame both searing and cleansing, with images delicate and precise as if wrought by scalpel. “But we don’t choose our miracles,” the poet warns us later on, but the miracle of this collection has chosen us.
— Terry Wolverton, Ruin Porn
When entering Arminé Iknadossian’s poems we hear “warring syllables.” There is hardship and the “fruit” of Iknadossian’s labor resides in liberation “like a woman climbing out of ash and bone.” A voice to be reckoned with, we’re told “Limit me, and all is not well.” This wonderful debut gives us “words to risk everything.” Iknadossian has “learned to pass a song back and forth,” and how fortunate we are to receive each and every one. —
– Lory Bedikian, The Book of Lamenting, winner of the 2010 Philip Levine Prize for Poetry
Armine Iknadossian’s debut poetry collection, All that Wasted Fruit, is an arresting exploration of the sacred feminine. Diverse, startling and deliberate, Iknadossian’s poems take us on a journey to unexpected places with unexpected outcomes. As each section swells, readers discover boundary and body, shadows and windows, language and all of its muscle. In this exploration, Iknadossian transports us into a world of disclosure, history, and divergence.
— Alene Terzian-Zeitounian, Deep as City’s Ache
“Bees get stuck in sonnets” and women get stuck in history. The speaker of All That Wasted Fruit speaks like a woman drowning in culture, in religion in all of the mythological and mystical associations of being a woman. From the Persian Anahita, to the Modern day Joan of Arc the speaker swims through the fraught history of femininity she has inherited. Rather than succumb to the weight of these associations though, she pulls “hard on its hair, cclimb(s) its backbone” and pulls herself out of the burning swimming pool of history. Like her imagined version of modern day Joan of Arc she talks “of the sea, its curling fingers of foam, its fists of water/ like a woman climbing out of ash and bone.” She acknowledges that we “cannot choose our miracles” but we can choose when and how we will make love for the first time/ and what shade of red the sky will be when it happens.”
– Tresha Faye Haefner ,
“We are the hallow women/ We are the stuff men leave behind,” proclaims the poet in the opening poem of this fine collection, with a smart nod to T.S. Eliot. Divided into six sections, Lover, Warrior, Queen Mother, Goddess, Priestess and Wise Woman, Iknadossian takes her exploration of the sacred feminine to buried, shamed, exquisite places, and blazes them with light. These poems chart the fierce course of a seeker, a woman who doesn’t flinch at the hard truths.
– Alexis Rhone Fancher, poetry editor, Cultural Weekly.