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Joan Cusack Handler: Joan Cusack Handler

Publisher, poet, and memoirist.


Joan Cusack Handler


April 2013


Joan Cusack Handler
Photo © Marlene Handler.

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Bronx native, Joan Cusack Handler has two published poetry collections—GlOrious and The Red Canoe: Love in Its Making, and two anthologies that she’s edited: The Waiting Room Reader: Stories to Keep You Company, Vol.1 and The Breath of Parted Lips: Voices from The Robert Frost Place, Vol.1. Confessions is her first full length prose book. Recipient of five Pushcart nominations and a Sampler Award from The Boston Review, her poems have appeared in Agni, Boston Review, Poetry East and The New York Times and her prose, including chapters from Confessions of Joan the Tall, in Indiana Review, Tampa Review, and Southern Humanities Review. In all of her literary work, Handler’s aesthetic project is the exploration of voice—its evolution and recreation on the page. In her other lives, she is the founder/publisher of CavanKerry Press Ltd. and a psychologist in clinical practice.


On Glorious:

"Co-founder and publisher of CavanKerry press, Joan Cusack Handler is a member of the resident faculty at The Robert Frost Place and sits on the board of governors of the Poetry Society of America. Glorious, her debut, reads like an open field verse bildungsroman of adulthood, taking the alternately first- and third-person protagonist from 'bitching as I do about your selfishness' to 'Inviting that cypress/ to watch the sun rise/ on the Hudson.'"
—Publishers Weekly

On Confessions of Joan the Tall:

"The beauty of Handler’s memoir is that it will appeal to young people and adults alike, particularly those who, like Joan, have grappled with their spiritual upbringing and what it means for the day-to-day conduct of their lives. Confessions of Joan the Tall is destined to join Betty Smith’s A Tree Grows in Brooklyn and Doris Kearns Goodwin’s Wait Till Next Year, coming-of-age tales that speak to the soul."
—ForeWard, reviewed by Nancy Walker

"Handler writes with candor, sometimes almost embarrassingly so, yet thanks to her masterful rhythms, there’s beauty in even the most painful scenes. She creates a character who has a huge voice and a compelling story all her own… Her acceptance of her height—especially as her male classmates start to spring up—gives a happy ending to what otherwise seems like a traumatic childhood conveyed in a confessional of sorts that explores questions of faith, family and a welcome into womanhood.  An unconventional but engaging memoir from a promising talent."
—Kirkus Reviews

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