The First Risk

The First Risk is out of print, but some copies may be available online.

The cover art is “Autumn Sweater” by photographer Kris Sanford.


In four extended sequences, Lambda Literary Award Finalist The First Risk confronts the murder of Matthew Shepard and the myth of Venus and Adonis through the eyes of Italian Renaissance painter Luca Cambiaso; the eccentric women of Pedro Almodovar’s All About My Mother and their search for authenticity; the nature of love and obsession in Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo and the pain and confusion of loss; and ”The Strange Case of Maribel Dixon,” the compelling novella-in-verse of a physicist in search of his lost wife, haunted by a phantom voice that may or may not be hers.


“Jensen’s poems, with their strong narrative voices and endings like soft crescendos, demand to be heard.” Read the full review.

—Brent Calderwood, Lambda Literary

“Charles Jensen finds another form—and quite an appealing one—to embody this eternal fascination with the power of the tongue.” 

—Susan Settlemyer Williams, Blackbird

“Charles Jensen is epic in approach, experimental in intent, and lyric in result, a combination uniquely his own. Here is a poet of amazing ability, one whose voice is part angel, part demon. Beware. I’ll say it again: Beware.”

—Jim Elledge, author of A History of My Tattoo

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