Stories to Read Aloud To Your Fetus by Alina Stefanescu

Published by Finishing Line Press

Print date: October 7, 2017   

Paperback: 110 pages

ISBN-10: 163534302X. ISBN-13: 978-1635343021

Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.3 x 9 inches

Cover art: "Motherdress" by Sarah Shields


In search of a new epistemology to address the fetus, poet Alina Stefanescu draws on her experience as an immigrant from a totalitarian country to probe the body’s most ineffable borders. Her story-poems acknowledge the complexity of the female body— and the fertile terrain between its possibilities and vulnerabilities.

An intimate geography of the relationships between female bodies and their babies, whether bourne, born, or unborn, these are the tongues kept silent in polite social circles. These are the women no one talks about. These are our mothers, sisters, wives, neighbors, and lovers. This is life.

Stories to Read Aloud to Your Fetus is a book about how the stars failed us. And how we loved our children despite them.


If you purchase this book directly from the author online, she will donate all profits to the CHOICE WORDS: POETS ON ABORTION, an anthology edited by Annie Finch that will be published by Haymarket Books.

Twenty years in the making, this book spans continents and centuries; the manuscript includes Audre Lorde, Margaret Atwood, Lucille Clifton, Amy Tan, Gloria Steinem, Ursula Le Guin, Gwendolyn Brooks, Joyce Carol Oates, Gloria Naylor, Dorothy Parker, Ruth Prawer Jhabvala, Anne Sexton, Ntozake Shange, Sholeh Wolpe, Ai, Jean Rhys, Mahogany L. Browne, Shirley Geok-lin Lim, Frank O’Hara, Vi Khi Nao, Sharon Olds, Judith Arcana, Alice Walker, Lucille Clifton, Molly Peacock, Carol Muske-Dukes, Mo Yan, Leslie Marmon Silko, Bobbie Louise Hawkins, Kathy Acker, Anne Sexton, Langston Hughes, Sharon Doubiago, and numerous other classic and contemporary writers including voices from Canada, France, China, India, Iran, Ireland, Kenya, and Pakistan.

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advance praise

"Alina Stefanescu’s hybrid poems shed light on the mysterious contours of the female body and psyche. These works bear witness to the plight of women in their relationships with the world—their children, mothers, the men they love, the men they fear, nature, religion, and societal/ cultural expectations. A woman’s vulnerabilities are her strengths; her strengths are her vulnerabilities, and yet, “One single wing is proof of a sky.”

Faith Garbin, author of How We Bury Our Dead 


"I can say this unequivocally—that Stories to Read Aloud To Your Fetus is one of the best poetry books I have read in the last decade – or more. Alina Stefanescu is a major talent and a new voice to rank alongside that of Anna Akhmatova, Sylvia Plath, and Anne Sexton."

Sue Brannan Walker, Poet Laureate of Alabama 2003-2012, Professor Emerita, University of South Alabama and Publisher of Negative Capability Press


media & press kit

Alina chats with Rob McClennan about stories, female bodies, and the challenges of mothering hybrid poetry

"I Could Not Explain the Abortion Without Referencing Smaller Things" was nominated for 2018 Pushcart Prize by Cloudbank Books.

"One Refugee to Another" was nominated for 2017 Best of the Net by Spilled Milk Magazine.

Alina named one of Maudlin House's "Writers of the Week"

Alina featured Les Femmes Folles' "We Shall Overcome" series July 2017, including poem "Instructions for the Man That Married a Foreign Dragon"

about the author

Alina Stefanescu was born in Romania and currently lives in Alabama with her partner and three opinionated mammals. She is the President of the Alabama State Poetry Society and serves on the board of various literary organizations, including AWC. A multiple Pushcart nominee, she is the author of Objects In Vases (Anchor & Plume, March 2016), Letters to Arthur (Beard of Bees, August 2016), and Ipokimen (Anchor and Plume, November 2016). Her debut short fiction collection, Every Mask I Tried On, won the 2016 Brighthorse Prize(Brighthorse Books, 2017). 


samples from the manuscript:

"The Letter Under the Sierra Club Magnet" (CHEAP POP)

"Letter to a Midwestern Artist" (Jellyfish Review)

"Four Children" (The Airgonaut)

"Fetus with a Special Purpose" (New Orleans Review Online)

"The Fetus Who Yearned to Be a Puppy" & "In Your Truck, A Memory" (New South Journal)

"All Those Love Notes Swarm Like Insects" (Pif Magazine

With additional pieces first published in [b]oink zineBy&By Poetry, Cloudbank,
ELKE Journal, Forage, Matrix,  Profane Journal, Red Paint Hill
, and others.

Ms. Stefanescu’s ability to vividly and passionately convey universal life experiences, especially as these relate to women, is astonishing. I finished reading this book of poetry feeling such a strong connection to her work, and so much richer for having read it. Highly recommend this collection, especially to those with feminist sympathies.
— Carolyn Breckenridge, author of Kaleidoscope Jane