5 Poems from Head of a Gorgon by Raegen Pietrucha
“Head of a Gorgon is what happens when ‘words stretch / beyond body’ to become bodies themselves — hissing, spitting, unzipping, swelling, predicting, protecting, recanting, revising, deleting, and most of all, delivering, for this is verbiage that spits forward, hisses to be heard, stretches and spirals ever higher with a singular motive: to resurrect. Pietrucha’s breathless soliloquy does exactly
as Helene Cixous prescribes: It writes the venom out of the wronged blood,
villains / from my recesses,
’ and restores the inherent power and creativity of the
female, and does it with verbs. Medusa has never been so alive as here in this drama that melds myth and memoir to armor its central tale of abuse, one so thorough and awful that it pierces time, and yet, it is along that very knife that
poet and gorgon join forces to shape their ‘haven with … pitchy songs.’ A(wo)men.”
— Larissa Szporluk, author, most recently, of Virginals, winner of the 2018
Burnside Review Press Book Award
ABOUT THE BOOK
Head of a Gorgon is a narrative in poems that reimagines the myth of Medusa, transporting this ancient tale of sexual violence into contemporary times and examining it through a survivor-centric, feminist lens. Via persona poems that enable readers to
hear this story of trauma primarily and directly from a protagonist often sidelined or silenced in other tellings, this devastating collection brings the visceral physical and
psychological experiences and effects of sexual violence out of the shadows and into the spotlight, revealing a path along which survivors might reimagine themselves within the societal structures that work against them. In the wake of the #MeToo movement,
this work has never been more timely or critical — not only to those who have survived sexual violence but also to those who may be in a position to change the systems that perpetuate it.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Raegen M. Pietrucha writes, edits, and consults creatively and professionally. Her poetry chapbook, An Animal I Can’t Name,
won the 2015 Two of Cups Press competition; her debut poetry collection, Head of a Gorgon, is forthcoming with Vegetarian
Alcoholic Press in May; and she has a memoir in progress. She received her MFA from Bowling Green State University, where
she was an assistant editor for Mid-American Review. Her work has been published in Cimarron Review, Puerto del Sol, and
other journals. Connect with her at raegenmp.wordpress.com and on Twitter at @freeradicalrp.
Sneak peek of cover art
by Jackie Liu
May 17, 2022
Raegen Pietrucha is an award-winning professional
and creative writer, editor, consultant, and educator
with two degrees in English and more than 20 years
of combined experience with the craft.
Pietrucha began her creative writing journey in
fiction, fell in love with poetry, and then dipped a
toe into creative nonfiction (more specifically,
Her poetry chapbook, An Animal I Can’t Name, won
the 2015 Two of Cups Press competition; her debut
poetry collection, Head of a Gorgon, is forthcoming
with Vegetarian Alcoholic Press in May; and her
memoir is in progress.
Pietrucha’s creative work has garnered an
Academy of American Poets Prize, among others;
has been nominated for the Pushcart Prize and
Best of the Net; and has been published in
Cimarron Review, Puerto del Sol, and other outlets.
Pietrucha has led workshops, participated in readings and podcasts, trained creative writers in submissions and
publication, and helped individuals polish single pieces as well as entire program application portfolios and book
She also served as the founding faculty advisor for the University of Nevada, Las Vegas’ undergraduate creative arts
journal, Beyond Thought.
Pietrucha earned her BA in creative writing from the University of Arizona and her MFA from Bowling Green State
University, where she was an assistant editor for Mid-American Review.
Professionally, Pietrucha is a former magazine editor-in-chief, features editor, and communications director with
experience bringing polished, captivating, and accessible content to verticals such as technology, health care, higher
education, and publishing.
She is skilled in idea generation and storytelling strategies that inform, engage, and entertain; build audiences, brands, and
consumer loyalty; and generate sales leads and market awareness.
Wolfpack Contributor: Raegen Pietrucha