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Bottomlands, by Madeline Trosclair-Rotolo

These poems manifest the Louisiana Gulf Coast and all its capacity for an environment experienced in full color. Crafting in equal turns a coming-of-age narrative and an ecological meditation, Madeline Trosclair-Rotolo invites readers to inhabit a space where they must consider the frightening reality of hurricanes, climate change, and a home ever threatened by the prospect of loss—while nonetheless managing always to find ways to keep communion. Wholly broken and often holy, Bottomlands is a debut collection by a poet as attuned to her own voice as to the beauties and dangers of the world around her.

Madeline Trosclair-Rotolo is a poet from Southeast Louisiana. She pursued a Masters of English in Creative Writing at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. With an emphasis on ecological poetry, her work has been featured in Susurrus Magazine, The Tide Rises Journal, Tilted House, and EcoTheo Review. Bottomlands is her first full-length poetry collection. She is fond of muddy rivers, garlic, and warm light.

Praise for Bottomlands:

"The poems that make Madeline Trosclair-Rotolo’s Bottomlands give us the most generous geography that exists, because we’re in it: 'meet me at the edge. I’ll be waiting, and we’ll be moving.' The swamps, wetlands, and bayous Trosclair-Rotolo writes are alive and always in the middle of their own conversation with the storms and seasons. Like no other collection I’ve read, Bottomlands tells us to be a part of this world is to stake yourself in both the beauty and precarity, on the edge of the greatest mercy where 'Nothing is quite yet lost.'”

—C.T. Salazar, author of Headless John the Baptist Hitchhiking

“South Louisiana is a confluence—of land and water, of fresh and salt, of cultures, of foods, of music, of life and loss, past and present, hope and pain. It’s a rich, brackish cradle unlike any other homeland you could imagine. With clarity and great beauty, Madeline Trosclair-Rotolo’s Bottomlands captures all of it as well as any collection of poetry I’ve ever read. Oysters, Spoonbills, storm winds, home generators, crab traps, Magnalite pots, family, memories, and the water that makes our world—it’s all here glowing with truth and marking place like a buoy against the horizon line. Drop anchor and stay for a spell. Cast your line amongst this book’s bounty. I guarantee the catch will be worth your time.”

—Jack B. Bedell, author of Against the Woods’ Dark Trunks
Poet Laureate, State of Louisiana, 2017–2019

"In her evocative debut collection, Madeline Trosclair-Rotolo’s poems place the reader in her native Gulf coast. These poems situate the reader into the cyclical rolling over of one storm season to the next, between destruction and reconstruction. They are the median of Interstate 10 during a storm evacuation as people traffic to and from their homes east and west between hope and fear. The poems are 'an endless stream / of hot gulf air awaiting a name.' And, in the end, this debut collection itself is a kind of hurricane with its own power to tear down its reader, to dissemble with the gust of each line break. But like the people and communities in this book, the storm of these poems engenders moments of healing. They don’t promise that the breaking will end, only that what is broken and built again will be stronger than before. If we travel to Rome, we can read the gravestone of John Keats that says, 'Here lies one whose name is writ in water.'  If you open the pages of Bottomlands, you’ll find a poet who, in water, has written the people and places that she calls home."

—Cody Smith, author of Gulf and Delta Summers

Reviewed in Gigantic Sequins

Review in Beaver Magazine


    • Publication Date: June 13, 2023
    • Trim size: 6 x 9 inches
    • 68 pages
    • ISBN: 978-1-960215-01-7

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