Bread Of

THE BOOK: Bread Of

: July, 2021

THE AUTHOR:  Gabrielle Joy Lessans

: Mark Harris

: Ornithopter Press

SUMMARY: Gabrielle Joy Lessans’s debut poetry collection Bread Of revisits buried and often mortifying memories of self-mutilation, emotional abuse, drug use, sexual assault, social pressure, and misery as a means of self-excavation. In this way, the autobiographical Bread Of is a multilayered processing of shame that feeds on itself when left untended. The book’s vertical movement can be understood as a quest of sorts, a way of reckoning with and integrating a lost iteration of self. With tenderness and humor, Lessans invites us to share in a return that builds page by page—each centering a text that questions what a poem can be—into an unflinching exploration of what it means to occupy a body that simultaneously falls through and takes up space, a body that carries memory in its tissue, not only of lived experience, but also of an ancient and internal sense of Divinity. 

: I wrote this manuscript as a means of healing from some tough experiences & reclaiming the narrative of my own past. 

WHY THIS TITLE?: There’s a saying in Judaism that had been fixed in my head as I was writing this book, a term called “bread of shame,” through the title here means something different than what the saying typically means. 

I view it as making something material, something substantial, something universal out of shame. Instead of letting the shame eat away at you, making it into something edible. 

It’s an interesting blend of genre. Poetic prose. Experimental form. Spiritual wriitng. 


“Gabrielle Lessans’s Bread Of is a powerful coming-of-age poetic memoir that reveals a self fighting for control over its identity in the throes of empty lust, shame, and gossip born of technology. From the womb of a mattress conformed to a body, to a city where everyone has “the ability to be a little bird,” warm wildness ensues: You open your eyes & the force of your lashes lays / a gust that spins outwards, through / umbral wheatgrass, a gentle / riptide. With the self’s inability to grasp an accepted reality, language fragments and others. Lessans’s phrases, like dinner plate pupils and galactic longitude, illuminate a strangeness that can accompany bodily abyss: a state of deep longing for a haven and for the body to belong. Bread Of, fearless and nonchalantly feminine so effortlessly chill, will leave you breathless.”
—Karolina Zapal, Author of Notes For Mid-Birth (Inside the Castle) and Polalka (Spuyten Duyvil)

E: Gabrielle Joy Lessans is a poet, yogi, and new mother. She lives, writes & teaches in Denver, Colorado, with her husband, son, dog & cat. Her collaborative chapbook [Re]Collection of the [Un]Likely is available through Trainwreck Press, and her second full-length poetry collection, [a go], is forthcoming this summer through Ornithopter Press. 


WHERE ELSE TO BUY IT: Ornithopter Press, Amazon

PRICE: $18.00

CONTACT THE AUTHOR: Find Gabrielle at gabbyjoy019@gmail., or follow @smallnesses

Published by


Recently retired after 35 years with the News & Advance newspaper in Lynchburg, VA, now re-inventing myself as a novelist/nonfiction writer and writing coach in Lake George, NY.

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