“Cassie Pruyn has triumphed with Lena…Harmonizing a round-robin of the illicit and poignant, Pruyn creates resounding poems that beautifully explore themes of love and loss.”

-Julie Westhale, Lambda literary review


Winner of the Walt McDonald First-Book Prize in Poetry through Texas Tech University Press, long-listed for the 2017 Julie Suk Award and short-listed for the 2017 Audre Lorde Award for Lesbian Poetry, Lena is available here and here. For a signed copy, email Cassie at cassie.pruyn@gmail.com.


12 Books By (And About) Lesbians And Bisexual Women To Read This Pride Month,” Amelia Possanza for BuzzFeed News.

“‘Lena,’ by Cassie Pruyn,” July Westhale for Lambda Literary Review.

From Body to Body: Mapping Grief in Cassie Pruyn’s Lena,” Molly Gray for CutBank.

“Cassie Pruyn’s ‘Lena’: A New Kind of Elegy on Love and Loss,” Lemuria Books Blog.

Let me into your grief: A review of Cassie Pruyn’s LENA,” Engram Wilkinson for Room 220.

Recommended Reading: Lena, by Cassie Pruyn,” Carolyn O for “Rosemary and Reading Glasses.”


The Reading Life With Lynne Olson, Cassie Pruyn, And Gina Ferrara,” New Orleans Public Radio’s “The Reading Life” with Susan Larson.

“Figure of Speech: Poet Cassie Pruyn”: WRBH Reading Radio

Half Revealing, and Half Concealing the Soul: Barrett Warner Interviews Cassie Pruyn,” real pants.

From the Sundress Blog, The Wardobe’s “Best Dressed” series: “Traveler’s Monologue,” “Androgyny,” “Lena, No One Knew,” and “The Myth of Cancer

For more poems from Lena, visit publications.


Love, obsession, devotion, desire, grief—these are the rivers that run through this remarkable debut collection by Cassie Pruyn who uses that most ancient and stately vehicle—the personal lyric—to narrate not just what it is to meet the beloved and to lose her, but what it feels like to experience love, only to see the beloved dissipate and die.  The love between these two women is chronicled here with devotion, intelligence, tenderness and a spike of rage.  This is a moving, muscular, finely wrought collection and a memorable chronicle of the mind and spirit making beauty and music from the senselessness of loss. – Mark Wunderlich

Like a novel, Lena unfolds its love poems as a story through time and space.  This remarkable first book is emotionally powerful, delicate and earthy at the same time; startling throughout (because of the technical skill of the poet); and yet also deeply familiar, resonant, as it captures the twin experiences of coming-of-age sexuality and profound loss. – April Bernard

The poems in Cassie Pruyn’s Lena possess a magnetism owed to an unconstrained heart and intelligence willing to celebrate the pitch fervor of erotic love and to name the unspeakable agony of unjustly losing an estranged beloved to cancer. In lines stylized yet naturally pitched, her poems espouse the kind of dignity gained from loving by way of sacred remembrance; such is the work of any elegy, but here the prestige of language elevates personal anguish to public healing. We relish in the truth-exacting ear of her imagination and the startling intimacy of her mind. – Major Jackson