Hands-On Saints
by Holly Iglesias

ISBN: 0-9700663-0-9
Saddle-stitched, $5.00
Publication Date: Fall 2000.
5.5 x 8.5 inches, 28 pages
(ISSN: 1527-9579, Volume 1, Number 4)

Individuals: Order directly from Small Press Distribution,
1-800-869-7553 ; or Amazon.com.

Bookstores: Order through Small Press Distribution.

Hands-On Saints, by Holly Iglesias, is the fourth in Quale Press’s edition key satch(el) quarterly series of chapbooks of prose poetry. The twenty-three prose poems of Hands-On Saints create a revisionist hagiography. A chalice crafted of lesser metals, a taste of redemption in an unlikely mixture of sacred and profane. Saints outside the canon, unbeatified and bruised, coarse and clueless, deserving of heaven for their very flaws; as well as authorized saints, who offer dubious rewards at a terrible cost. An occasion of grace manifest in sacraments of rupture and awe.

“In these deeply textured prose poems, Iglesias brings the divine down and into the hands of the odd, the meek, the suicidal. There is debunking here and the very solid suspicion of lives transgressed that will warm your daily hope if you let it. Each piece vibrates like a corner of a hologram or a slice of DNA in its familiarity, its symbiotic connection to the human whole.”
—Maureen Seaton, author of Little Ice Age

“Well there’s religion, catholic perhaps, but within that realm there’s birth and honeycombs, confessions, saints and girls. In Hands-On Saints, Holly Iglesias looks for God in details — the interstate, the hem of a dress. Her saints look too — they are sexual, and they toy with the blasphemous. Cruelty is everywhere, but so is love and humor. Sit with these poems and you too become one of the seekers.”
—Linda (Sam) Smukler, author of Home in three days. Don't wash. and Normal Sex

“[Iglesias's] mode is ingenious and her intelligence manifest. The writing is intense and always entertaining. . . Many of the poems are esoteric lists, yet they are resonant and orchestrated. She seems determined to give only fascinating hints, but like Wallace Stevens she induces her readers to do their own narrative imagining. One senses that she has genuine empathy with her beseiged and perplexed characters. . . Iglesias's playfulness and marvelous ear are infectious. She thrusts you into her landscapes and makes you feel grubby and medieval.”
—Paul Zimmer, The Georgia Review

From Hands-On Saints...

From the First

The saints of January suck on ice, unmelting to our prayers, their sharp tongues etched with salt and asphalt grit. Unquenched, they swoop to the gutter, where a single drop released at noon hesitates, pendant.

Prisca, Felix, Polycarp, their metallic names hint at virtues more obscure than ice, arousing us to lick great lengths of what in milder times remained liquid. Our daily office prompting recollection of necks under the ax, ogling pagans, wrathful bulls and monastic monkeyshines.

January saints offer precious little, refrain from games of bless- and-tease, inspiring, rather, a devotion of knees to crook and miter. Enraptured votives consume themselves as we anticipate the leniencies of February: the healing tapers of Blaise, and fey Valentine, harbinger of reckless faith and candied hearts.

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