Water Lessons is now available for pre-order! Orders can be placed at: https://blacklawrencepress.com/books/water-lessons/

Here is a blurb about the book:

Beneath the obvious beauty of Lisa Dordal’s poetry lies a subtle ferocity that threatens to undo the reader on every page of Water Lessons. “Anyone can become / animal or a flicker of light” warns the speaker as she embarks on a journey of recovery: of the memories surrounding a mother’s addiction and death; of a father’s dementia, which softens him even as it steals him away; and of the speaker’s own complicity in mid-century suburban oblivion, a complicity that makes both a mother’s and a Black maid’s miseries equally tragic. Dordal demands that we not only see the past, but that we step into its deceptively gentle tide, one that sweeps us back to the people, places, and eras that still haunt us. In these poems, no one is truly safe, no one is truly innocent, and no one is truly gone. Water Lessons teaches us that swimming against the current of remembrance is futile. We can only trust the water to hold us without drowning us, and to return us to some shore, even if where we land is not where we were first submerged. —Destiny O. Birdsong, author of Negotiations, longlisted for the 2021 PEN America Literary Awards


Lisa Dordal is a poet and teacher based in Nashville, Tennessee. She received a Master of Fine Arts (in poetry) from Vanderbilt University in 2011 and a Master of Divinity, also from Vanderbilt, in 2005. She teaches in the English Department at Vanderbilt.

Lisa is a Pushcart Prize and Best-of-the-Net nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets University Prize and the Robert Watson Poetry Prize. Her poetry has appeared in RHINO Poetry, Narrative, Great River Review, Best New Poets 2015, The Sun, Cave Wall, Bellevue Literary Review, CALYX, Ninth Letter, Rove Poetry, The Greensboro Review, Vinyl Poetry, storySouth, Connotation Press, and The Feminist Wire.

Her first full-length collection of poetry, Mosaic of the Dark, was a finalist for the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry and is available from Black Lawrence Press

Mosaic of the Dark is also available from Amazon, Barnes & Noble, and Target.

“Humming with inspired metaphors and everyday relevance, these poems are gems.” Kirkus Reviews (starred review)

Description of Book: Mosaic of the Dark is a portrayal of one woman’s journey to wholeness and addresses the psychological harm that can arise from restrictive societal expectations for women. As the speaker in these poems examines her own early experiences as a closeted lesbian trying to fit her life into the prescribed script of heterosexuality, she grapples with her mother’s alcoholism and possibly non-heterosexual orientation. In the end, the speaker successfully sheds familial and cultural expectations in favor of a truer self and, in the process, experiences a spiritual re-visioning that allows her to move beyond the confines of a male-centered Christianity to a more expansive, mystical way of experiencing the divine.

Her second collection of poetry, Water Lessons, is forthcoming in April 2022.

Lisa Dordal is the author of Mosaic of the Dark (Black Lawrence Press, 2018) which was a finalist for the Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, and Water Lessons (forthcoming in 2022). She is a Pushcart Prize and Best of the Net nominee and the recipient of an Academy of American Poets University Prize. Her poetry has appeared in Best New Poets, The Sun, Narrative, CALYX, The Greensboro Review, Vinyl Poetry, and Ninth Letter.