In Her Terms
by Toti O’Brien
68 poems ~ 100 pages
Price: $5.00
Publisher: Cholla Needles
ISBN: 979-8481278049
To Order: Amazon


In Her Terms is a full-length poetry collection subdivided in three themed sections (plus a bridge, made of trilogies) that draw a loose narrative arc. The book focuses on themes of language and landscape, body and relationships. Written during the first year of the pandemic, it also reflects a reality of uncertainty and isolation, still inhabited by resilience and lit by intermittent flashes of hope.


Toti O’Brien’s In Her Terms is beautifully intimate and exceptionally vulnerable. It draws us into the personal space of O’Brien’s world, taking on the subtleties of life that often go unexplained.
–John Brantingham, author, Life: Orange to Pear (Bamboo Dart Press)


Toti O’Brien is the Italian Accordionist with the Irish Last Name. Born in Rome, living in Los Angeles, she is an artist, musician and dancer. She is the author of Other Maidens (BlazeVOX, 2020), An Alphabet of Birds (Moonrise Press, 2020), In Her Terms (Cholla Needles Press, 2021), Pages of a Broken Diary (Pski’s Porch, 2022) and Alter Alter (Elyssar Press, 2022).


Odd Bird
by Toti O’Brien

Deep green of the mangrove, nest of shade
cupped hand, branches like fingers.
A release of pelicans in the sunset.
Why do you say “breathtaking”
each time a flock scatters in concert?
Expansion of ribcage. Inhale, hold, exhale.

Something about joy is centrifugal
overflowing like foam from a bottleneck
firework, fountain, cascade of confetti
rice thrown over a bridal train
shine on shine, a sparkling exuberance.

Fluttering of a thousand of feathers.
Angels don’t exist, but birds do.
Some of happiness happens
and that part is brisk, sudden.
What remains of happiness is.


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