Claudia Cortese

Poet & Teacher

Art & design by Martin Rock

Art & design by Martin Rock

purchase wasp queen

Praise for WASP QUEEN

Claudia Cortese has given to Lucy what Anne Carson has given to Geryon: a life as desperate and fraught as our own, which is to say, a human rendition of the poetic potential. Here, memory is a potent point of inner excavation, where the threshold of danger and love are often one beam, a beam in which Cortese navigates with harrowingly deft eyes and ears, where Lucy, like so many of us citizens of earth and flesh, "shines like a gun." Wasp Queen possesses something permanent and searing at its core: the will to live, even thrive, despite the shackles of childhood, despite even oneself. I finished this book only to read it all over again, finding and losing myself, gladly, at every turn.

—Ocean Vuong

Design by Walter Bjorkman & art by Valentina Brostean

Design by Walter Bjorkman & art by Valentina Brostean


Praise for Blood Medals

Driven by and into decay, darkness, and rot, Claudia Cortese understands the importance of looking directly into the truth of things, no matter how troubling and terrifying that truth might be. Navigating through the hauntingly sensual language of tumors, shrieking, sores, and knives, Blood Medals reveals the sinister underbellies of this world while still managing to glitter with the hope of transcendence. Each poem holds you by the skin on the back of your neck and dares you to look at where your own darkness hides. Cortese’s voice is morbidly beautiful, brutally honest, and “brighter than fire and cardinal”. Blood Medals will leave you haunted and broken and begging for more.

—Meghan Privitello

Design by Jen Tynes & art by Joe Cortese

Design by Jen Tynes & art by Joe Cortese


Excerpt from "Notes Toward a God Essay"

1) God in one hand, Barbie in the other—

            I want to be that girl again—


            circling my cul-de-sac in October,

the leaves’ ssshhh and shhha.