Handspun Rosaries

Dina Klarisse

Library of Congress Control Number: TBD
Cover Art: Saint Cecilia by Artemisia Gentileschi
Book Design: Maria Bolaños
Paper | 6 x 9 | 70 Pages
Publication Date: June 26th, 2022
Distributors: Bookshop.org, Amazon, Barnes & Noble, Books Inc., Sampaguita Press, and select bookstores
Price: $20


Moving through memories of growing up as a Filipina American immigrant and her reflections on woman’s place in a society still dripping Christian-centric values and reeking of colonial heritage, Dina Klarisse’s Handspun Rosaries follows the poet’s lifelong interrogation of God. This debut collection is a birds’ eye-view of a lapsed Catholic’s tectonic beliefs, its poetry mingling with prayer and narrative. In these communions, the poet scavenges for the remnants of faith left on her identity, reflecting on definitive moments with the pious grandmother in its title piece, “Handspun rosaries,” and reminiscing on the comfort of family rituals in “Asian Supermarkets” and “7pm Sunday Mass.” In poems like “Charbydis” and “Pouring Salt,” the poet dissects the monsterization of women in mythology and legend, weaving together feminist and post-religious readings to create new narratives of the self. A collection of questions and answers and all that comes in between, Handspun Rosaries invites its reader to challenge the tenuous barriers of dogma and look beyond them for a new, expanded horizon of belief and faith.

Advance Words

“Dina’s Klarisse meditations on family tribulations, with details as minute as an aunt’s teeth as she laughs, dares to see an awareness beyond faith. Every heirloom is accounted for, and not a single moment is left without appreciation. In her work, Dina Klarisse explores the spaces around and even possibly beyond one’s home, and there is a sense of true belonging in such a daring journey.”

Haolun Xu, author of Ultimate Sun Cell

“In Dina Klarisse’s Handspun Rosaries, the speaker grapples with thorny questions of faith and over 19 poems, crafts a creed that is different from her family’s but is just as potent, a doctrine built from the delights of grocery stories, the seemingly effortless strength and glamor of ates, the creative power of myth-making and storytelling, and most importantly, the urgency and mysteries of love.”

Anna Cabe Co-Fiction Editor at Split Lip Magazine, 2018-2019 Fulbright Fellow in the Philippines

“In Handspun Rosaries, Dina Klarisse carefully, intentionally, and lovingly shows us how to pray on our own terms. The poems in this collection invite us to (re)consider our relationship with God and what connects all of us, by watching mass from the rafters with spiders, mixing the eucharist with sinigang in our bellies, and writing love letters to what is holy in our lives: Lolas, Mothers, Ates, us. Through intimate and honest poems, Klarisse guides us through the ways we sit with God, our loved ones, and ourselves, ultimately to arrive at the reminder that “despite every moving on”, we will be welcome, always.”

Phebe M. Ferrer, editor of Translate Me Not: New Filipin/x Writing and Art by decomp journal

Dina Klarisse (she/her) is a writer, poet, editor, and serial procrastinator. Poetry is her way of making sense of her experience as a queer Filipina American immigrant and recovering Catholic, as well as her interest in the intersections of history, language, culture, and identity. Her work has been published in ASU’s Canyon Voices, The Daily Drunk Mag, Chopsticks Alley, and Kalopsia Literary Journal, among others. She serves as Poetry & Issue Editor for the online literary magazine Marías at Sampaguitas, as well as Editorial Director for the indie micropress, Sampaguita Press. She lives near San Francisco with her partner and can usually be found on a nature walk, looking for whales, in a secondhand bookshop, or on her couch.