Library of Small Catastrophes Book Cover

Alison C. Rollins (born and raised in St. Louis city) is currently an MFA candidate at Brown University. She holds a Bachelor of Science (summa cum laude and Phi Beta Kappa) in Psychology from Howard University and a Master of Library and Information Science from the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign. In 2019, she was named a National Endowment for the Arts Literature fellow. Her work, across genres, has appeared or is forthcoming in American Poetry Review, Black Warrior Review, Gulf CoastIowa ReviewThe New York Times Magazine, and elsewhere. A Cave Canem and Callaloo fellow, she was a 2016 recipient of the Poetry Foundation’s Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship. Rollins has been awarded support from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and is a recipient of the 2018 Rona Jaffe Writers' Award. A 2020 Pushcart Prize winner, her debut poetry collection Library of Small Catastrophes (Copper Canyon Press, 2019) was a 2020 Hurston/Wright Foundation Legacy Award nominee. Rollins has held faculty as well as librarian appointments at various institutions including the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, Colorado College, and Pacific Northwest College of Art. 


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"Like sunflowers turning towards the sun, readers will turn to this astounding poet." 

Booklist, (Starred Review)

"The range of Rollins' poetic skill is remarkable. The result is a collection of poetry which is magnificently crafted, readable, and crucially important." 

New York Journal of Books

"In poem after poem, Rollins demonstrates that she is finding her own way, shining a light, making darkness apparent." 

Publishers Weekly

"Much-welcomed newcomer Rollins offers keen insights that librarians and their readers will appreciate."

Library Journal 

"Some dense and haunting, Rollins' poems are always precise and exacting of attention from the reader...The poems continue to give upon each reading."

Ms. Magazine 

"The small and large darknesses catalogued here make this a book of remarkable depth. This is an electrifying debut."

Terrance Hayes, author of American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin