A complex and entangled text that explores inherited trauma, the presence of ghosts, interspecies communication, the dream world, grief, and human/animal separation.

Weaving wisdom from her shamanic practice and the interstices of language, and in the difficult moments anticipating the deaths of her beloved dog companions, Separation Anxiety marks the first collection of poetry from acclaimed prose writer Janice Lee, and is a meditation on inhabitation and existence beyond the human.


Not only lingual sensitivity to the mystery of mystery but her courage in Separation Anxiety to probe uncertainty with aplomb, Janice Lee is that rare lingual artist having the courage to defy while engaging uncertainty and the brinksmanship that teems with anonymity. These are poems that reconnoiter their own dispossession.

– Will Alexander, author of Refractive Africa (Finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry)

“Simultaneously visionary in scope and distilled to the barest truth in language, Janice Lee’s Separation Anxiety journeys past death, opening to what always already was and to possibility. Notions of life, kinship, and love expand beyond species and the space-time continuum, transforming through encounter and relation. There’s an intimacy and directness in these poems that carries the reader tenderly through each revelation. Whispers from the cosmos, from beloveds, and from deep inside. You’ll want to meander in and revisit the world these poems build, seeing our own more sharply and with all its ghostings.”

– Megan Kaminski, author of Gentle Women

In Separation Anxiety, we embark with the knowledge that ghosts contain an echo to listen for and intuition is a form of sight. Both an astute guide and a fellow wanderer in the liminal landscape of anticipatory grief, Janice Lee observes, ‘sometimes one must choose death/ not to run away from life.’ Living fully requires embracing transformation—of those we love and of ourselves. She admits, ‘it is brutal,’ but qualifies, ‘it being linear time.’ As we stop resisting mortality and linearity, we simultaneously transcend their illusion; ‘we will all go down these paths/ more than once.’ Navigating the territory of despair and denial without becoming consumed, Lee invites us to wake, forget, and wake again, to clear our vision and ‘look around/ rather than/ ahead.’

– Teresa K. Miller, National Poetry Series–winning author of Borderline Fortune

Janice Lee’s brilliance in fiction now enters poetry in this exploration of grief, love, and communication between species: human, dog, ghost. These poems are intimate as they are intellectual, full of wisdom as much as wonder. Lee makes meaning of living, dying, and the subtle, gorgeous surprise. I love this book. It makes language and the world feel new.

– Lee Herrick, author of Scar and Flower