Sugar Work, recommended by The New York Times, was the 2020 Editor’s Choice for The Alice James Book Award.
“Marya's debut lands in the gorgeous, messy place where the sacred and profane overlap. Sugar Work has a compelling narrative bent and generous eyes, stunning in its southern reality and recognition of suffering and work. Marya is a psychologically astute poet, a bright new talent in touch with her own humanity and that of others—allowing strippers dignity on stage, and looking upon addicts and her own young self with nuance and compassion.”
Megan Mayhew Bergman
“Sugar Work demonstrates the astonishing resilience of the writer’s psyche, and makes deeply American poetry out of the strip club, the born-again, the mob trial, the Vegas sun, and most tenderly, of the mother’s body revealed, concealed, loved and examined under the watchful eye of a truly gifted writer. These are rigorous, vivid, memorable poems and this book is a remarkable and important debut.”
“Whitman’s image of the crescent moon ‘carry[ing] its own full mother in its belly’ could describe the creative labor in Katie Marya’s debut collection. In Sugar Work, Marya captures the child’s awe while carrying the mother as myth and memory. It’s work, but sweet, the way any blues is sweet. As the child becomes an adult, her mother—imago now—weighs differently on the mind. These poems have a captivating intensity of beauty and care.”
Copyright 2023 Katie Marya | Cover Art by Ann-Marie Manker, “Niagara”