In Monsoon Solo, psychological undercurrents are explored with the speed and ferocity of the Mississippi River, that vast artery that cuts through America’s heartland. These poems travel—from the river’s muddy banks to roadside motels; from buses packed with after-schoolers to rush-hour-congested commuter trains; and from desolate alleys to city streets teeming with lap dogs, trash cans and newsstands.
The poems’ speakers, even when in a crowd, are alone. They harbor secrets. Like hungry ghosts, they feed on the unspoken, grapple with the stuff of nightly news: sex, death and other people’s money. Haunted by the past, they tell urgent stories.
Praise for Monsoon Solo
“Gretl Claggett writes very exact and graceful poems that explore the dark corners of life. This is not nice poetry. It’s powerful work that sticks in the head long after reading.”
“Searing stuff. The poet’s people are identified at defining times of their lives. Monsoon Solo is a real page-turner. The reader has to know what happens next in these vivid dramas.”
“With a rare combination of boldness and grace, Gretl Claggett writes her luminous poems. Her uncanny emotional intelligence and unerring sense of drama guide her lines toward metaphorical richness and psychological revelation. For those of us who turn to poetry for the startling surprise, for the luxury of image, for a whole landscape in a handful of lines, Claggett is the poet to read and cherish.”
“Gretl Claggett’s poems are at once drawn irresistibly to the human world—to its ardors and longings, its terrible accidents and violence—and shocked and stunned by it. The fullness of their moral power stems from the ability this poet has to stand at the center of exquisite, dangerous tension and not turn away, not draw back in fear, not flinch.”
“The poems in this collection are brave, strong and beautifully crafted. Gretl Claggett has an eye for the resonant, suggestive image and a rare ability to tell a story in lines. There’s a rightness of both rhythm and tone that’s imperative to these searing poems, with their mordant wit and wisdom, their inward and outward transformation. Monsoon Solo will capture an audience that likes its poetry vital and necessary.”
About the Author
Photo by 85photo.com
GRETL CLAGGETT is a creator, writer and director committed to telling female-forward, diverse, cinematic stories that entertain and catalyze transformation in individual lives and shared cultures.
Gretl’s first film HAPPY HOUR — narrated by Julianne Moore — is based on true events and a poem from her book, Monsoon Solo: Voices Once Submerged. The film screened as an official selection at 18 festivals, winning awards and garnering praise from Oscar-winning Writer/Director Robert Benton: “Happy Hour is a lush, elegiac film about an extremely difficult subject and Ms. Claggett handles it masterfully.”
Gretl’s second film/proof-of-concept TV pilot, STORMCHASER, is a female-forward, nuanced satire that allegorizes this era in “Merica”: Global Warming, Disaster Capitalism, Bullying, #MeToo, Morality, a Shrinking Middle Class and Country Divided. STORMCHASER was selected to screen at roughly 65 festivals worldwide — winning AMC Network’s Inaugural “Best Female Creator” Award at Stareable Fest 2020, “Best Writer and Director” Awards at the 2021 New York Women in Film & Television Festival and “Outstanding Writing” at the 2021 Catalyst Content Festival (ITVFest). Other awards include multiple wins for Best Director, Best Screenplay, Best Film, Best Pilot, Best Cinematography, Best Actress, Best Actor, Best Ensemble Cast, Best Original Score/Soundtrack, and Best VFX.
Gretl cut and restructured the story to make a shorter, 15-minute film, FLIP THE SWITCH, which was selected as a finalist in the international 2020 Stage 32 Short Film Program Contest, and also screened at multiple festivals around the world, winning awards.
Another passion of Gretl’s is pioneering the use of innovative technologies to shape inspiring brand stories — from writing and directing Sony’s first 4K 360° cinematic music video to creative directing high-profile events, such as Entertainment Weekly’s inaugural festival, PopFest, in Downtown LA, and IBM’s Partner World in Las Vegas and San Francisco. Diverse brands Gretl has worked with include Canon, McDonald’s, Merck, Pfizer, SHRM, and SC Johnson, to name a few.
One of her specialties is merging live performance with state-of-the-art multimedia. “Cognitive in Motion,” IBM Amplify’s opening experience — which she conceptualized, wrote, directed and produced, incorporating ‘pop & lock’ dancers, Notch (real-time generated art) and IBM cognitive data visualizations — won two top Telly Awards.In 2020-2021, Gretl directed 3 episodes of an indie short-form comedic series and produced BOY, ALONE IN WOODS, a horror short/proof-of-concept for a feature she’s co-developing. Currently, she’s writing/developing a memoir manuscript, plus a few film/TV projects, including a ‘90s nostalgic black comedy and a female-forward, metaphysical thriller. Check out projects in development at Culture Catalyst