Book Release: A Jar of Moths

Reported on Friday, March 15, 2024.

Pictured Above: Cover art for “Book of Moths”. Photo Credit: Contributed.



Princeton, NJ – Ragged Sky Press is pleased to announce the publication of Ilene Millman’s second book of poetry, A Jar of Moths. In this collection, Ilene Millman seizes the opportunity to explore the inside, the outside, and the upside down of living. The poems reflect Millman’s life as a Brooklyn girl, a wife, mother and grandmother, a speech/language therapist and a citizen. They find her immersed in activities from walking in a rose garden or shopping for shoes to conversing with God. Her insatiable curiosity carries us along whether she probes the history of lipstick, the meaning of motherhood, or art, politics and the challenges and absurdities of aging. Millman’s poems speak a life-long belief in the power of memory and the power of words to awaken us, with connection and compassion to ourselves and to our world as it is, both brutal and beautiful.

Praise for A Jar of Moths

Ilene Millman’s newest collection of poems, A Jar of Moths, contemplates the flutter and flash of the moth-like memories that we hold in our hearts and release to eat through our “woolly night hours.” Some of the moths are troubling: the phone call from a daughter in college who weeps I’ll never be loved again; the dog-eared and ink-smeared books that violated a mother’s injunction Never deface a book. Most come with blessings: the knowledge that “you can wrap your past tense/in a heavy woolen scarf/fling it out over a molten sea.” The poems build a sanctuary “out of what we have/in front of us/despite the threat/of fire rain.” They allow us to take time out from our “mundane moments.”

—Lois Marie Harrod, author of Spat

Ilene Millman’s poems stretch our minds. Words like whyness, and whynotness sum up her open- minded thinking and startling fearlessness. Her poems take their subject matter from everyday activities, like walking in the woods and watching dough rise, back through memories of childhood and young womanhood. Everything in this collection of poems is deeply felt and skillfully expressed— the words echo the world of a mother, a grandmother, a wife, a teacher of language. Millman shares with us her wide embrace of vocabulary, vision, and experience. We will be the wiser for reading, and re-reading these poems.


—Elizabeth Danson, author of Look Again

A Jar of Moths

By Ilene Millman On-sale date: March 15th, 2024

Ragged Sky Press, $18, 114 pages

ISBN: 978-1-933974-57-6

About the Author

Ilene Millman writes poems about memories, mud, music, making bread, modern times—the array of observation that captures her attention. Her first poetry book, Adjust Speed to Weather, was published in 2018. Millman’s poems have appeared in print and online journals including, Nell, Journal of New Jersey Poets, The NewVerseNews, Paterson Literary Review, Passager and Potomac Review, and have been included in anthologies such as She Persists, and Forgotten Women. In 2022 she was nominated for a Pushcart Prize. Before retiring, Millman worked for more than 35 years as a speech/language therapist teaching children who learn differently. She published two therapy games for elementary and middle school students designed to improve language skills. Millman volunteers for Rock Steady Boxing, an exercise program for people with Parkinson’s Disease and does assessment for her county Literacy Volunteers. She lives in Hillsborough, New Jersey.

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