Before the First Kiss by Ashe Vernon & Trista Mateer

5.5″ x 8.5″ | 106 pages | ISBN: 978-0997940428

Before the First Kiss
by Ashe Vernon & Trista Mateer

a nonfictional book of poetry
about the right love
at the wrong time.

From the Introduction:

Everyone’s got something to say about dating a writer. All of it is vague and unhelpful, and most of it bounces between “AVOID AT ALL COSTS” and “achieve obscure immortality through the shit they have to say about you.” What I don’t ever hear anyone talking about is what happens when you’re both writers: that bizarre, intimate feedback loop of feeling and language that you can create together.

This book is our feedback loop. It’s nonfiction: our story as best as we could tell it. The process of collaborating on a work of art about something this close-to-home has been strange and enlightening and stressful and painful and important.

This is the most honest piece of work I have ever been a part of. It’s everything we have. Everything we were and everything we wanted and everything that’s left. We hope that it means something to you.

Despite everything, we’re trying.

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Ashe Vernon is a pansexual poet currently stationed in Austin, Texas with their girlfriend and two cats. Ashe is the author of four full length collections of poetry, including Wrong Side of a Fistfight which was nominated for a 2015 Pushcart Prize. Currently working as the Senior Editor of Poetry with Persephone’s Daughters literary magazine, Ashe is virtually always in the middle of a dozen different projects. They spend their summers touring poetry with their best friend, Jordan Hamilton, and living out of a car for months at a time. Ashe is a very tiny person with very tiny hands and a whole lot to say about it. (Ashe is agender and recently changed their pronouns from she/her to they/them and asks that any articles or reviews gender them accordingly.) :

Trista Mateer is a bisexual poet currently stationed in Austin, Texas with her partner and two cats. Known for her eponymous blog, she is also the author of four full length collections of poetry, and won the Goodreads Choice Award in 2015 for poetry with The Dogs I Have Kissed. Her work has been published on Medium, Thought Catalog, and in The Rising Phoenix Review, among other places. She is currently working as a contributing editor at Words Dance Publishing and spends most of her time Googling cheap air fare. Once, Buzzfeed referred to her as a “Tumblr darling” and she cried about it. Contact her at or @tristamateer on Twitter! :


“More poetry has been written about love and specifically, the loss of love than perhaps anything else. This book, in a brutally beautiful way, is what happens when the person you’ve lost, writes back. From London to Texas to Atlanta, from couches to bars to the floor, Ashe Vernon and Trista Mateer have written something together that is not quite a novel, almost a memoir, still a poetry book – and yet entirely something else. A raw, painfully honest and beautiful documentation of the space between two people.”

Iain S. Thomas,
author of I Wrote This For You

Before the First Kiss is a beautiful tapestry of two interlocking narratives, it illustrates how love and dance are not as different as we think. They both require us to throw caution to the wind and feel something so deeply that our bodies begin to speak for themselves.”

Rudy Francisco,
author of No Gravity

“This collection is intimacy: stripped down and insecure; swollen with urgency. A relationship is dissected in front of us – built up and busted down without a lick of grace, but stunning in words. Vernon and Mateer break more hearts than their own with these poems.”

Rachel Nix,
poetry editor at cahoodaloodaling

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