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The Beautifully Worthless
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The Beautifully Worthless

5.0 1
by Ali Liebegott

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Winner of the 2005 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Lesbian Fiction.

"The Beautifully Worthless is an outrageous act of kindness."—Eileen Myles

"She's insanely talented, it's mad. The Beautifully Worthless crisscrosses the USA, like Close to the Knives, like Kerouac, desperately seeking out everything occluded and driven,


Winner of the 2005 Lambda Literary Award for Debut Lesbian Fiction.

"The Beautifully Worthless is an outrageous act of kindness."—Eileen Myles

"She's insanely talented, it's mad. The Beautifully Worthless crisscrosses the USA, like Close to the Knives, like Kerouac, desperately seeking out everything occluded and driven, a frenzy of seeking frozen into poetry."—Kevin Killian

"Ali Liebegott’s books evoke a life-affirming sensation that comes from embracing the pendular. Her ability to hit the right tone is scientific, almost violent in its precision—a single word or observation, well-placed, can have a reader crying or laughing aloud."—Evan Karp, Bomb Magazine

A runaway waitress leaves her lover, grabs her dog, and hits the highway. Ali Liebegott maps her travels in a series of hilarious and heartbreaking letters to the girl she left behind, and some of the most exquisite poetry written about love, heartache, and madness.

Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher

"Most comparisons to Jack Kerouac induce eye-rolls, but you figure that the Beatific City Lights wouldn't print such a thing unless they meant it. The Beautifully Worthless is a subverted road story about a runaway waitress who leaves her lover and hits the road with her dog. She maps her travels in letters to the girl she left behind and poetry about love and heartache."—SF Weekly
Richard Labonte
"Going on the road with Liebegott is a breathtaking experience. This hybrid work--half prose, half verse--is about a queer girl who, accompanied by her cranky Dalmatian, Rorschach, flees troubled love in Brooklyn. Her destination: existential release, and perhaps emotional solace, in Camus, Idaho. There is in fact no Camus (she misread the atlas: it's Camas)--but it's the journey that matters, not the destination. Seedy motels, spooky caves, endless miles of desert, vast halls of slot machines, a crush on a sweet-natured teenage boy, a spell in a mental institution, a strained few days with her family, profound sadness and giddy wit: the physical and emotional landscape of Liebegott's odd odyssey, crisscrossing America in an earnest search for self, is truly exhilarating. The prose parts--letters written to her lover back in Brooklyn--are the narrative backbone of The Beautifully Worthless. But it's the poetry--vivid, haunting, and visceral--that elevates this debut from innovative to original, from imaginative to memorable."
Book Marks

Product Details

City Lights Books
Publication date:
City Lights/Sister Spit
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
4.98(w) x 8.92(h) x 0.48(d)

What People are Saying About This

Michelle Tea
"Ali Liebegott is just what the world of books needs-a voice laden with serious heartbreak and total hilarity, that takes on the absurd and somber struggles life dumps in our laps with the perfect mixture of reverence and insanity. I do believe she is a genius, and The Beautifully Worthless a stunning, memorable first book"
author of Rent Girl
Joan Larkin
"In Ali Liebegott’s America, disillusion and heartbreak, innocence and hope travel hand in hand. Love troubles the lonely landscape like a kind of wild prayer. Liebegott’s letter to the world is a true original. Her witty, compassionate voice haunts me like no other."
author of Cold River
Eileen Myles
"Countries are made by epic poems, I mean national memories start this way. The Beautifully Worthless is a poem (or a novel) from the wide and lost country of a queer girl on the road with a dog. This girl goes everywhere, and she knows what America is all about because of her exquisite and heartbreaking vision. When this creaky Empire is over, know that someone watched it fall as she (and Rorschach) drove through and told the story. Ali Liebegott’s The Beautifully Worthless is an outrageous act of kindness."
author of Skies and Cool for You

Meet the Author

Ali Liebegott is the author of the award-winning books The Beautifully Worthless and The IHOP Papers. In 2010 she took a train trip across America interviewing female poets for a project titled, The Heart Has Many Doors; excerpts from these interviews are posted monthly on The Believer Logger. Her novel Cha-Ching! is forthcoming from City Lights/Sister Spit. In addition, she is the founding editor at Writers Among Artists whose first publication, Faggot Dinosaur, was released in 2012.

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Beautifully Worthless 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
Guest More than 1 year ago
Ali Liebegott¿s new collection of poetry, The Beautifully Worthless, is a stunning debut. Fresh out of the gate from the wizards at Suspect Thoughts Press in San Francisco, this remarkable gem is a fresh and fantastic look at life in all its complexity, ugliness and beauty. Liebegott¿s work delivers a powerful wallop in few words and is almost a collection of epigrams that both saddens and inspires. My copy is filled with notations in the margins for future reference. Similar to Neruda in its earthiness, Tess Gallagher in its honesty, and Michelle Tea in ingenuity and style, TBW will make a great gift this year for friends who have grown tired of wordy or self-conscious poetry. Liebegott explores feelings of desperate yearning for a better place in ¿Jackpot, Nevada¿: ¿I don¿t know much about leaving town just that the wooden handle that pumps that well keeps going up and down inside of me¿ She also fully understands the power of words in ¿Years Later: Montrose, Pennsylvania¿ with, ¿I wanted to be the weightless gun hidden/inside the typewriter, smuggled to the inmate.¿ From describing her complicated relationship with her mother in ¿Las Vegas¿ (¿When we fell, we fell, two suitcases/side by side from the bridge¿) to the painful deterioration of romantic partnerships in ¿Brooklyn¿ (¿downstairs we moved slowly around each other/not gorgeously, but like the yellow/that slowly overtakes the leaf¿s edge¿), Liebegott is one of those rare poets who invites you into her reality simply because she is filled with compassion (¿I know what it feels like to have nothing to lose¿). And she is damn good at it.