Household Gods

Using the personal voice mediated through poetic form, this new chapbook of poetry explores family and coming of age in the NY City Borough of Queens in the 1960’s. Purchase Household Gods at your independent bookstore or through Sheila-Na-Gig Editions.


So delighted to announce that Household Gods will be included in the 2023 Ohioana Book Festival. Here is some information:

Join us as we present our 17th annual celebration of Ohio books and authors at the Columbus Metropolitan Library’s Main Library on Saturday, April 22, from 10:30 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. It will be a fun-filled day with panel discussions, conversations, readings, and activities, plus an on-site book fair with The Book Loft of German Village where you can shop for books by your favorite festival authors and get them signed! In addition to the main event, we’ll be presenting a number of outreach programs with community partners from all around Ohio. As we like to say, there’s something for every reader of every age at the Ohioana Book Festival!


Hearty thanks to editor Hayley Mitchell Haugen of Sheila-Na-Gig editions for inviting me to read from Household Gods. Here is the youtube link. After I read, other Sheila-Na-Gig authors read their poems from the Spring 2023 edition.

Thank you, Wendy McVicker, Athens, Ohio 2020-2022 Poet Laureate, for featuring Household Gods and an interview on your poetry program, hosted by WOUB, River of Words.


Thank you Editor Constance Brewer of Gyroscope Review for your insights and in-depth reading of Household Gods, posted on the journal’s homepage. Brewer states, “The past is never as far away as we’d sometimes like it to be. Fathers, mothers, aunts, brothers, and grandmothers haunt the pages, eager to tell their part in the story. Proudfoot shares the details with an unflinching eye.” To read the rest of the review, please check this link.

Many thanks to Michael O’Mara at SoFloPoJo for his fine and perceptive review of Household Gods, posted on the journal’s website. O’Mara says, “. . . We are invited to pause within poems of rage and grief, poems of powerless inaction, of uprooted
history, of witness, and poems of tenacious fortitude that look at you steadily with their one good eye and quietly insist in an old-world meets the five boroughs voice: I’m talking here. ”  To read the rest of the review, check this link.

Many thanks for this fine Review in “Let’s Talk About Poetry” on the One Minnesota Crone blog. Author Kathleen Cassen Mickelson writes,” Bonnie Proudfoot’s first poetry collection, Household Gods, is firmly grounded in Queens, New York, held fast in the arms of family, steered by the passage of time. It offers a constant push against the roles handed to women even as women are remembered, honored, and elegized. I was struck by the numerous threads of how women are often discounted, pushed to conform, stripped of their innocence, and denied help, how women who push against their assigned role are disappointed or worse. . .” To read the rest of the review, check this link.


Household Gods, Bonnie Proudfoot’s riveting first collection of poems, uses the lens of the speaker’s life to explore both personal and universal questions: How are we shaped by place, by family, by our particular time on this earth? What is our responsibility to witness and to act? It will be no surprise to readers of Proudfoot’s novel, Goshen Road, to find that setting plays a central role in these poems. This time, though, the primary setting is the poet’s first place; we inhabit the apartments, streets, even rooftops of Queens, NY, alongside the people, many long dead, who occupy them. “The past / is gaining ground, it’s snapping at her stamping heels,” Proudfoot writes in the opening poem. As readers, our present lives are all the richer for it.

––– Pauletta Hansel, Cincinnati Poet Laureate Emeritus

Take a Jewish family; populate it with grandmother, mom and dad, older sister, younger brother. Place them in Queens, New York. It’s the 1960s, so President Kennedy has been assassinated, the war in Vietnam rages. Then transport the sister into contemporary America, now in her sixties with grown children, where people like Breonna Taylor and George Floyd are killed for being Black. In such a world, “Forgiveness knocks like a beggar, / we have so much grief to offer, but it will not find its way in.” This is the world Bonnie Proudfoot evokes in her outstanding chapbook Household Gods, who teach “wisdom and anguish.” To be a girl was to find herself helpless to stop sexual assault; to be a woman was to have “A gold ring on one hand, / a mop in the other.” To be a man was to marry but to stand “in the doorway….OTB / tickets in his pocket, his / excuses like horses at / the gate, waiting for the bell.” Proudfoot handles forms powerfully—ghazal, pantoum, elegy—and her list poem “Saved” is brilliant.

––– Susan Shaw Sailer, The Distance Beyond Sight

To order Household Gods, please visit Sheila-Na-Gig Editions. If you enjoy the book, please consider posting a review on or Many thanks!

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