Spectacle

Cover design by Jolie Sebastian

The editors of Panhandler Magazine and Panhandler Books are thrilled to announce that Panhandler Books will publish Lauren Goodwin Slaughter’s poetry collection, Spectacle, in Spring 2022! Please check back frequently for updates on the forthcoming collection. Lauren Slaughter’s work was recently featured here in Panhandler Magazine and more of her work can be found on her author website.

Purchase Spectacle

Forthcoming Spring 2022

Information about the Author

Lauren Goodwin Slaughter is a 2021 NEA Fellow in Poetry and also the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers’ Award, and a Walter E. Dakin Fellowship from Sewanee Writers’ Conference. Her first poetry collection, a lesson in smallness, was a finalist for the Rousseau Prize for Literature. Her poems, stories, and essays have appeared or are forthcoming in Harvard Review, Image, North American Review, 32 Poems, Love’s Executive Order, Pleiades, and Kenyon Review Online, among many other places. She wrote the libretto for Already Root, a feminist retelling of the Eurydice and Orpheus myth, composed by Maxwell Dulaney and performed by the New York-based Talea Ensemble in spring of 2018. She is an associate professor of English at The University of Alabama at Birmingham where she is also Editor-in-Chief of NELLE, a literary journal that publishes writing by women.  Find her at www.laurenslaughter.com.

Excerpt from Spectacle

ALICE THE CORPSE FLOWER BLOOMS AT THE CHICAGO BOTANIC GARDEN

— In September, 2015, thousands gathered to see Alice the Amporophallus, one of the Chicago Botanic Garden’s “corpse flowers,” named for their rancid stench, when she unexpectedly bloomed. 

And what woman 

hasn’t been thus 
gathered round,

a mob of cell phones 
raised like torches

poised to snag the spectacle

that is her efflorescence—
pompons peeping out

(glimpse of thigh
or thong)

ovules swollen 
with her fertile redolence?

Because smell is indifferent
to video or maybe more 

the dare you take
to taste the sour milk

a queue of tourists forms 
to step right up to Alice’s enormous 

sex and nozzle in— 
whole heads will disappear 

in a cunnilingual pantomime 
the wincing faces say 

reeks of rotting flesh, 
or fish, or death. 

~

We use real words
at our house, not prim

approximations, not
the birdie of my childhood,

or girly bits, or vee-vee,
or hoo-hoo, or kitten,

yet despite my professorial directives 
my young daughter

refers only to her private
that is private 

in the singular, like signage 
on her bedroom door

years from now, and as if 
understanding, somehow, 

she must enlist
a part of herself always

to serve as her own soldier, 
her very own private, 

her protector, 
and I won’t correct her.