Lovelier Than Dirt


A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will be donated to the Deborah Blakely Averill Scholarship Fund at CSUN.

By Deborah Blakely Averill

Native Blossoms Chapbook Series Three, Book 4

Whip-smart, funny, and super dialed-in to the culture, the poems in Deborah Blakely Averill’s Lovelier Than Dirt are spectacularly unique: openhearted, but wounded, too, familiar with heartbreak and sorrow. Keenly observed, the twenty-four pieces in this collection reveal vulnerability laced with searing insight, often expressed in dark humor and sharp objects. These poems are a love letter to the city of Hollywood and the frailty of the self, and manage to find redemption in the unlikeliest of places.

Read A Sample Poem:

Addiction” was published in Issue 9 of NOÖ Journal in late Fall of 2008.


Deborah Blakely Averill (1964 – 2018) was a gifted poet, teacher, editor, and critic. She earned both her BA in English and MA in Creative Writing from California State University, Northridge. Deborah’s poetry has appeared in NOÖ Journal, The Northridge Review, and Floor Plan. She was co-editor of the online literary magazine Red-Headed Step-Child. She was most proud, however, to have been a wife and mother. Her first chapbook, a work in progress at the time of her passing, is published posthumously.


Deborah Blakely Averill
from Lovelier Than Dirt by Deborah Blakely Averill

Paperback: 40 pages
ISBN: 978-1-7324289-1-1
Product Dimensions:  8-1/2 x 5-1/2 x 1/4 inches
Shipping Weight: 2.3 oz.

“The potency of vulnerability combined with a voice that sings blues riffs and lingers with bittersweetness make for poems that yield a difficult beauty. Blakely’s work testifies to struggle and the potential for redemption in the ability to see the world and the self, their frailties and gifts. Her vision is unflinching, and her poems resonate, tuning forks of human consciousness, identifying true pitch.”

~ Patty Seyburn, author of Perfecta, Hilarity, Mechanical Cluster,
Diasporadic, and Threshold Delivery (forthcoming)

“‘This is a shroud, not a diary,’ Deborah Blakely Averill writes in Lovelier Than Dirt. However, Averill’s poems read very much like a diary about and a love letter to chapters of her Los Angeles experience. Averill’s collection touches on everything from first apartments to the ‘I’ of selfhood to addiction to the desperation of can’t-live-without-it big love. Her mastery of phrase and exquisitely unexpected word pairings are apparent in lines such as, ‘I like embroidering a slow decline, like pyrolytic tar,’ or ‘the mouth / opens with never,’ and ‘The Xanax / under the tongue / of your faceless painting.’ Deborah Blakely Averill’s poems are striking, sensuously brutal, and unapologetic: hers was a rare and refreshing voice.”

~ Carleen Tibbetts, author of Dataclysm.jpg
and Dataclysm.jpg (forthcoming full collection)

“Like jagged compass points guiding broken pilgrims, sharp objects in Deborah’s poems point to the agitated street corner at 6th and Alvarado in Los Angeles or a restless flop house in New Orleans before a hurricane where hobos worship at the altar of bleach, Lexapro, voodoo, and roaches. Yet communion with pain sometimes reveals truth’s dark humor. ‘Love is a light blue fur coat with identity issues.’ Deborah’s places are metaphors for malevolent opportunities where a bayonet, scissors, and the ironic safety pin prick a lover’s skin. Pain is how we know we are alive.”

~ Ramsey Mathews, Ph.D.,
Contributor, L.A. Review of Books,
and commercial photographer


Additional information

Weight 2.3 oz
Dimensions 8.5 × 5.5 × .25 in

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