My Body the Guitar 

Coming soon! My newest book, My Body the Guitar, will be arriving December 1 from Before Your Quiet Eyes Publications Holograph Series (Rochester, NY).

Sample Poem

Jimi Redux

I summon Hendrix

the flames of his immolated guitar

him crouching on stage in my imagination

as he did with a can of lighter fluid




over his axe and then striking

                                                a match

even as I sanitize


fantasizing too Woodstock


                      we stood

to believe in     electrified

his famed Fender Strats

even as I self-




into iconography

a fiery fired poem

even as I curse

this scourge

Jimi would understand

my drop


idiosyncratic     spacing

he loves me

in the time of coronavirus

I wipe the strings

of the Strat in my future

I unplug

               ones I dream

again     again


               smokin’ hot

under waning moon

shining in this orbit

together in music

across time zones

and keys

               and tunings

even as I sing his

anthems     hoping

for a cure

(Originally published in ArtAscent)

Book Description

My Body the Guitar is a poetry book inspired by guitars, guitarists, and their music. In “Part I, Mere Mortal,” we follow Karla’s learning curve in poems largely spoken to her guitar in a series of “Études.” In “Part II, Local Heroes,” she honors the master guitarists in her inner circle, teachers, lovers, friends, online git pals, glancing encounters, her deceased brother. In “Part III, “Great Gods,” readers encounter Karla’s idiosyncratic pantheon of immortals, including Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, Tom Waits, Joni Mitchell, Paul Simon, Stevie Ray Vaughn, Mark Knopfler…and one for Lindsay Buckingham, greatly influenced by your book.

~130 pages; 116 poems

High Praise for My Body the Guitar

Sexy as hell. Absolutely fucking loved it.

~Julianne Ingles, Editor Guts Publishing.

A masterful blending of story and song, there’s a transcendent quality to My Body the Guitar that goes beyond the words on the page. It’s a musical journey in three parts: obsession and desire, nostalgia and longing, and reverence and prayer. Like a troubadour’s notebook of songs, this creates such depth and vision in this gorgeous and spellbinding book, and one can hear music weaving its way from cover to cover. An emotional and intimate book that will continue to reveal its secrets every time it is read.

~Jenni Brandon, composer of Sisters of the Covid Moon for soprano, bassoon, and piano, 2021                           

Photo by Michele Ashlee

I was impressed by how much Karla knows about guitar masters and the guitars they love, including the intricate makings of an electric guitar itself. “Étude 5-10: Cocooned, Day 56” and “Étude 5-16: Makin’ Do” brought back those long days of the shutdown and not being able to play out in the world, but they also made me smile. I enjoyed revisiting the Met’s Play It Loud exhibit through Karla’s remembrance of its “wall-to-plexiglass-wall of guitar porn” (and I too loved seeing, among other “instrument[s] of devotion,” Clapton’s “Blackie,” from both sides). Karla describes how, on her own guitar, she “began groping for the C major/pentatonic scale from fret 5,” and “began grasping a new pattern/of being along the strings”: I remember that moment of revelation too, when I learned the pentatonic scale and suddenly realized I could play the blues—the basis of most rock and roll. And I can relate to Karla’s naming her Martin “Boner” because I got one myself every time I learned something new on the guitar (and my wife wants me to keep learning). Karla perfectly describes the joy of learning to play and, through it all, to keep on playing.

                                    ~George Ott, long-suffering, underappreciated Jersey Shore musician

Life is all about emotions, memories, and meaning. Karla brought and blended these ingredients together with music, guitars, friends, and, above all, a joyful life into an elegant poem shape. It is a privilege to read, at the same time, an intimate love letter and a tribute to all the vibe music brings. What a powerful, joyful, “musicful,” “guitarful” ride!!! We felt so proud and thrilled to read and feel that Karla wanted us all to be part of this… to be part of her life.

~Júlio Martins, Partner, luthier, AVA Guitars, (Portugal)

When reading Karla Linn Merrifield’s poems, I can hear her voice filled with nuances, cadences, and varied tempi. In other words: it is musical! How fitting that she wrote an entire collection of poems about her musical influences and her favorite instrument. Her language is thoughtfully crafted, witty, touching. Buy this book and make sure you go hear Karla read from it!

~Sylvie Beaudette, founder and former director of the Women in Music

Festival, Eastman School of Music (Rochester, NY)

In a moment of uncommon lucidness, famed musician Carlos Santana had this to say about the guitar, “The guitar is shaped like a woman, with a neck you hold and a body you hug against yourself. You can touch your fingers up and down the strings, but you have to be delicate and know what you’re doing . . .” Poet Karla Linn Merrifield, exploits and explicates Santana’s erotic reflection in her stunning new collection, My Body the Guitar. Merrifield invites readers to join her on a musical and poetic journey hallmarked by Merrifield’s own unique poetic style. A veteran poet, her work showcases a variety of forms which are distinctive, humorous, transparent, and unapologetically erotic. A singular achievement of this collection is the way the poet streams her knowledge of the instrument’s history and its famous players into her work.

~Michael Escoubas, author of Images: A Collection of Ekphrastic Poetry

An incredible immersive work written from the inside out, learning to play guitar from scratch to dive deeper into poetic Nirvana.!!! A groundbreaking work written with the deepest love of the art. A virtuoso poet at the height of her powers.

                                    ~Paul Garthwaite, guitarist, composer, teacher (UK)

Photo by Michele Ashlee

Order Information

Price and order information will be posted as soon as it becomes available.

In the meantime, you can reserve a signed copy of My Body the Guitar from me by sending me an email to me at Please be sure to include your name and postal address, as well as the number of copies you’d like to reserve. (They’ll arrive in time for holiday gift-giving!) I will put you on the book reservation list, and, in advance of publication in early December, will notify you of the cost per copy.

8 thoughts on “My Body the Guitar 

  1. Way to go, Karla!  You set your goals and achieve them.  So glad you and Ken are cohorts with this publication…AND I still love the cover. lh


  2. looking forward to seeing you two tomorrow, Karla–love, Bill

    —————————————–From: “Karla Linn Merrifield” To: Cc: Sent: Monday September 27 2021 3:15:30AM Subject: [New post] My Body the Guitar

    karlapoet posted: ” Coming soon! My newest book, My Body the Guitar, will be arriving December 1 from Before Your Quiet Eyes Publications Holograph Series (Rochester, NY). Sample Poem Jimi Redux I summon Hendrix the flames of his immolated guitar him crou”


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