Proficiency Badges
by Carrie Olivia Adams


Edition of 54

“I think we’d forgotten how red blood can be. How many shades it takes, how many textures. We ran thick, we ran like knit, like spider webs. We gave it by the bag, by the cloth, by the mouthful. I was dirty. We are more blood than water than salt than breath.

I wish I’d never been young.

from Proficiency Badges by Carrie Olivia Adams

Inspired by a Girl Scout handbook from 1947, Carrie Olivia Adams’s poetry has the fierceness of young girls-turned-survivalists, crouched around a carcass in the woods. “We’ve come to the hunt. It’s your turn to go and hide. Let me not hear you in the brush.”

Hand bound & printed linocut by Rebecca Elliott. The book folds out into a map that contains four sewn pamphlet sections with the text of the poem. Edition of 54.

Carrie Olivia Adams lives in Chicago with her husband and two cats. She is the Promotions and Marketing Communications Director for the University of Chicago Press and the poetry editor for Black Ocean. Her books include Operating Theater, Forty-One Jane Doe’s, and Intervening Absence as well as To be a thing of memory (forthcoming from Tolsun Books in 2021) in addition to the chapbooks “Proficiency Badges,” “Grapple,” “Overture in the Key of F,” and “A Useless Window.” When she’s not making poems, she’s making biscuits.