Not Flowers

I have not been able to get “Kitchen” out of my mind for months. And that is how my love for Noreen Ocampo’s Not Flowers began, with an earworm slinking its way into my subconscious. Yes, there is pain present, but overall, this chapbook is a nostalgic and optimistic body of work. It gave me something I’ve been searching for these past couple of years: hope.

—Lannie Stabile, author of Good Morning to Everyone Except Men Who Name Their Dogs Zeus

Quiet and delicate and lovely, Not Flowers reintroduces readers to love and growing in all of its flashes—holds the hands and says we were here before, remember? I will be visiting and revisiting this collection for all my future coming-of-ages, and I am braver for it, this something to treasure between the palms. Ocampo is exacting and aflame as always, and is only just beginning, I am sure.

—Jennifer Co, literary editor of {m}aganda Magazine 34

Gentle and innocent, Ocampo’s poems hold friendship and young love as if they were in the petal of a flower—their uncertainty and fragility—which are eternal and dear no matter how small or fleeting their moments. Ultimately these poems are a way of being—not of beginning or ending, not of reminiscing or predicting the future, not even of regret or hope—but that to simply be with all of love’s assurances is the point.

—Elsa Valmidiano, author of We Are No Longer Babaylan

Noreen Ocampo brings us something soft, fleeting, and ineradicable. Her poems remind me that flowers stand in for words sometimes: they are love notes, indicative of presence, absence, or longing. Flowers also feed us and our feelings, and these poems accompany a speaker who loves friends, family, and herself with the warmth of “sunshine laughing” and even when she says “some parts of me never stop searing.” These poems show us that growing up is about giving, asking questions, holding hands, and heading into a future dressed up in growth.

—Janice Lobo Sapigao, author of like a solid to a shadow and microchips for millions

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Not Flowers is a collection of quiet juxtapositions: the wonder and loneliness of childhood, the magic and loss of places left behind, the resilience and imperfection of the love we give each other. More than anything, these poems are an attempt to write toward joy, toward futures in which we buy flowers for ourselves.

38 pages in a 5″x8″ paperback with a gold foil finish.