Jessy Randall. Suicide Hotline Hold Music. Red Hen Press, April 2016. 101 pages. $11.95. ISBN: 978-1-59709-726-0

Available from: IndieBound, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, and maybe your local library. (If they don't have it, you could ask them to order it, and they probably will! That would be awesome.) Also available at the Colorado College bookstore and many independent bookstores.

Suicide Hotline Hold Music is a collection of poems (mostly short ones) and poetry comics (poorly-drawn mostly-text sometimes-funny things). A human pretends to be a machine in order to provide comfort anonymously. We are made to consider the epic meaning of middle school pantsing. Hearts are broken and mended. Children play with My Little Robot Pony. A troll keeps a food diary. Everyone’s hair has a sound effect.

Advance praise:

"Jessy Randall playfully expands the boundaries of both poetry and comics.” -- James Kochalka, creator of American Elf

"You might be wondering what the hell is going on. There was the Big Bang and now we have all this crap. Jessy Randall’s poems will help. Funny, playful and vibrating magic from the quotidian, these poems and comics, if they don’t solve all universal riddles for you, will reintroduce wonder to your heart.” -- Scott Poole, house poet for Public Radio International’s Live Wire!

Excerpts from reviews:

"Makes you feel like someone else on this planet gets you. Like actually gets you." -- Sara Kafka, The Gloss

"a low-key, ordinary walk through a surprising otherworld" -- Siham Karami, TheThe

"comforting in its honest strangeness ... for those who like the weird and playful, Randall’s poetry provides an unconventional approach on how to deal with what life gives us." -- Hannah Cohen, Mom Egg Review

"so funny, and so, so tender and true." -- Kathleen Kirk, Escape into Life

"Randall is turning into a profoundly good lyric poet who, because she has shed pretense as well as dilettantism, may be one of the best currently writing." -- Daniel Casey, Misanthropester

Panorama of the Mountains compares the book to Kate Beaton's Step Aside, Pops and Shel Silverstein's Where the Sidewalk Ends.

"...makes the reader want to slap her forehead and exclaim, 'Why didn’t I see that?!' "-- Kaye Lynne Booth, Writing to Be Read

"You'll laugh out loud and perhaps feel like you've been punched in the gut with some realness." -- Han Sayles, Mountain Fold Books

Sample poems:

Suicide Hotline Hold Music reprinted from the book in Verse Daily, June 2016; included in the iHeartRADIO podcast "Words by Winter," February 2021.
The Wave of Pantsing in Umbrella
Everyone's Hair in Middle School in McSweeney's
Food Diary of Gark the Troll in Strange Horizons
Crackling Octopus in Star*Line

Dream of the Avant-Garde song version composed and recorded by David Kay as part of his "Dumb Poems for Smart Phones" project.

Sample comics in
FemGeniuses and Rattle.

Readings in New York NY, Los Angeles CA, Greensboro NC, Boulder CO, Ridgeway CO, and Colorado Springs CO.


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