Review of Megan Levad's Why We Live in the Dark Ages (Tavern Books, 2015)


A P/rose/oem Re(Action) to Megan Levad's Why We Live in the Dark Ages
a patchwork of p/rose/oems concerning know(ledge)

by Ariana Nadia Nash
 

From “Bullying”:
“and has a different colored eye, which, by the way, if you have a different- / color eye it means you ate your twin, I mean you, you absorbed your twin / in, in the womb.”

Doubled self. Multifolding language. Onepointing to many. You and not you. One always multiple. 

 

An index, rather than a table of contents. Find Afghanistan; cartilaginous skeletons; Heidegger, Martin; kangaroos; Plague, the; Playgirl; sea grapes; vaccines; vampires. Infinite Jest-like spatiality to the form. Internet-like. Word-searched. Read(y) for literary criticism from the “digital humanities.” An authoritative guide? What other forms of order are displaced? 

 

A question can be an assertion?

Power? Feminism?

Overvaluing contingency uncertainty gaps is ignorance? Undervaluing contingency uncertainty gaps is tyranny?

The question marks a form of excess?

 

Evolution is nonlinear. Reptiles had breasts. Whales from camels. Fractions are like verse. We’re in the Dark Ages, maybe?, because we don’t all speak the dominant language, which today, maybe?, is scientific. History is also nonlinear, because history always looks back while moving forward. Which is why we try to raise chimps as people, maybe?

 

From “Great Men of Science: Thucydides”:
“Okay so...and uh...sort of, you know sort of...but that, uh / I don’t know if...So...they were / they were sort of....and, uh... and, uh...were sort of like...Anyway...all crazy, like...and somehow...for this uh, this uh....if you will. / And uh...on his way to, I think...and, uh...or...and uh, and uh, this could / lead to uh, to uh, his death...they


were sort of, uh...sort of paranoid....So...or uh...I don’t know if he literally did that...he sort, he, he, he was very / good at um, um, sort of...so whatever...a Spartan lifestyle if you will...I think it was this / I think, I think...or something...Anyway so...or...like all...and maybe he / slept with...maybe he didn’t....anyway he did some, I think...for the uh, the uh...I believe”

 

God is referenced on pgs. 27, 41, 73, 75, 80, 81. As in “God I loved that book!” and Anne Sexton’s poetry collection, as in Kepler and Ptolemy’s views of God and the universe, a quote from John 3:16, and St. Paul on the road to Damascus. God in multiform interconnections? God in information-masked-as-knowledge in all its dementions?

 

What is the difference between a line break and ‘uh’? Can ‘uh’ be a ledge in language? “Sublimity...is the feeling of being on a cliff, this is a very / simplified version, being on a cliff looking over the cliff at the smallness or / the expanse, the, the uh, expanse the, the expansiveness of what’s below / the cliff or beyond the horizon and the....feeling of both terror and awe.”

 

Pro(fusion). Monotremes to Walkabout to male ambivalence toward nursing to sweat to “gross” opossums. Homeopathy: nano-nonsense, Hippocratic oath. Plural(isms). Anne Sexton following or maybe of the “Great Men of Science.” The “brain-body reaction” of love. All the chimps and the kittens they loved or killed. (Enter)relation. Hap(hazard)ness.


From “Lucy, Part Two”:
“...somewhere / off of South America does that make any sense? Do chimps live there? / That’s wrong it was, was Africa. Somewhere off of South Africa. Or / is Ghana in Africa? It was Ghana. An island off of Ghana.”

It was The Gambia. 

 


It’s sort of like Drunk History, or at least maybe asks: What’s up with Drunk History? What’s so funny about in(toxic)ated people getting history half right? Jen hic(cuping) that Washington was a “dumb fuck” for his treatment of Oney. Duncan vomiting into a toilet while explaining why Edison was an asshole and how Tesla fell in love with a pigeon.


P/rose/oetry:

If every line of a poem goes to the end of the page, is it verse? Or ragged prose wearing a mask? Distinction made arbitrary?

Language hovers between two entities and refuses to be recognizably either? 

 


Ariana Nadia Nash is the winner of the 2011 Philip Levine Prize in Poetry for her collection Instructions for Preparing Your Skin, published by Anhinga Press. She has also published the chapbook Our Blood Is Singing from Damask Press. Her work has appeared in Rock & Sling, Poet Lore, Painted Bride Quarterly, and Cimarron Review, among other journals. She is a lecturer at the University of Chicago.

Review of Sara Uribe's Antígona González (Les Figues Press, 2016)

Antígona González by Sara Uribe, translated by John Pluecker

a creative review by Joyelle McSweeney

 

 ANTIGONE

to go outside the gates; to retrieve the body of the brother; to be obscene, exposed, beyond the walls; to be obscene, off the scene, powerful and shunned; to walk in an empty circle forever; and, still as a sunless style, to stand in the middle of the circle, and cast no shadow; to make the sign of the sun with its tongue in its throat:

¤

 

ANTÍGONA GONZÁLEZ

to search for the body of the brother, Tadeo. The closest thing to happiness for me right now, hermanito, would be for them to call me tomorrow to tell me your body has appeared. To follow the fragments, the dreadful path, which is also the mundane: the mundane horror of the dead which is continuous with the mundane horror of the living. To want what the dead want. To meet at that zero point. That’s the only thing I want now, a body, a grave. That refuge.

  

ANTIGONE

to go outside the gates; to become like the dead brother; to take his place in the round, bee-hived shaped sepulchre; to starve; to become the symbol for gold; a zero-place; the zero-mouth (Bolaño); to turn up your starved face; to signal the gods through the roof of the tomb:

¤

 

ANTÍGONA GONZÁLEZ

to trace the dead by becoming like the dead; to trace their route, his route; to move through a channel made of absences: Like the dream, you were what disappears, and you were also all those empty places that do not disappear. To speak with Tadeo, who is absent, by speaking a language of absences. To move through those absences.

Tadeo González. Ausente.

Tadeo González. Ausente.

Tadeo González. Ausente.

 

ANTIGONE

outside the walls: to occupy the tomb; to make a para-site, an alternative to the would-be center of power (the king/the state). Here dead bodies gravitate; here dead bodies accumulate (you, your brother, your lover); the tomb is becoming steadily more crowded with the dead; while the palace is drained, evacuated.  You claim a here, you make of a non-place a here, while Creon is left alone there, within the now-empty corridors of power, within the empty walls of the state. The empty skull of the state:

¤

 

ANTÍGONA GONZÁLEZ

 What is power? They is power. Their presence. I realized Tamaulipas was Thebes / and Creon this silence stifling everything. But we is counter-power. The first person plural, the choral voice, has long been a tool of protest and poetry, a way to speak to, from, and for those harmed and suppressed by a grid of interlocking hegemonies—a way to activate the numerical power of the masses. In this case, the chorus speaks simultaneously as themselves and as the disappeared, the priceless/ disposable, victims of the juntas, of the narcowars, of punitive economic and migration policies, of the violent depredations of politicians, police and corporations on both sides of the US-Mexican border and throughout Latin America:

Somos los que deshabita desde la memoria. Tropel. Estampida. Inmersión. Diáspora. Un agujero en el bolsillo. Un fantasma que se niega a abandonarte. Nostotros somos essa invasión. Un cuerpo hecho de murmullos. Un cuerpo que no aparece, que nadie quiere nombrar.

 Aquí todos somos limbo.


We are what vacates from the space of memory. Horde. Stampede. Immersion. Diaspora. A hole in a pocket. A ghost who refuses to abandon you. We are that invasion. A body made of murmurings. A body that doesn’t appear, that no one wishes to name.

 Here we are all limbo.

Not all ‘in limbo’, but all limbo itself, indivisible, a cancelled yet ineradicable stratum, a static absence that disrupts the well-lit field of presence, of state power, of capital.  An adjustment of Satan’s more heroic claim myself am hell, but following a comparable spatial logic, and claiming for this would-be non-place the status of Here.

 

ANTÍGONA GONZÁLEZ by SARA URIBE

Antígona González is a book of refractions, appropriations, conjurations, fragmentations, of ghost cerements stitched and re-stitched, until there is no telling where one voice begins and another ends: Who is Antígona González and what are we going to do with all the other Antigones? Who says this? Uribe is the latest artist to find herself and her heroine moving along the long, dismal path of this we, abjected from the light of power’s bona fides and onto a sacred, spectral plane of grief, abnegation and reluctant counterpower: I didn’t want to be an Antigone // but it happened to me. The book splices Latin American and European versions of Antigone, human rights reports and scholarly texts, along with the account of our present heroine; its voice thus amplifies even as it grows more specific. Devastatingly, Antígona finally communes not with Tadeo but with the other bereft searchers who have massed in San Fernando, Tamaulipas, in the dubious hopes of recognizing a loved one among a group of corpses. The repeated choral declaration Somos muchos in the book’s final passages evokes dismay as well as power. It is a wail as much as a roar. Reflecting this ambivalence, the choral voice undulatingly splits and reforms; on its final page, the voice of Sophocles’s Antigone issues from the chorus’s now singular throat: ¿Me ayudarás a levantar el cadáver? Will you join me in taking up the body? As the first Antigone hurls out this challenge to her sister Ismene, Uribe here throws her moral challenge to her reader(s). The white space around this question terrifyingly undecided; is it heavy with silence, or loud with groans as a long, dismal column of sisters bends to the work?

 

ANTÍGONA GONZÁLEZ by SARA URIBE, translated by John Pluecker

Translator John Pluecker has accepted Uribe’s challenge, becoming an accomplice-sister to Antígona  and to Antígona, bringing this text into English via a tight weaving of direct speech and quoted/retranslated sources. Amid this multiplicitous structure, Pluecker has aimed for a seamlessness of touch which imbues a sense of focus, momentum and ‘all-of-a-pieceness’ to this pieced-together work.  Elaborate notes make sure the choral/archival aspect of Uribe’s project is not lost on the Anglophone reader, and also discloses the heretofore spectral presence of performance, as Uribe’s multivocal work was in fact commissioned as a monologue for Sandra Muñoz and performed on site in Tamaulipas. Pluecker’s translation multiplies the work’s already multiple audience and referents, its speaking-sisters and addressee-sisters—and thus its political reach and potential future contexts. It thus reiterates the logic of the book itself, with its sad yet empowering collocation of “all the other Antigones.” The continuity of this translation with the action and method of the book reminds us that Antigone’s act was itself a forbidden translation, a crossing of a boundary, a ‘carrying-across’, etymologically speaking. In Pluecker’s afterward, he offers this synopses of the gravity his task:

Translation becomes a response, a lifting, a hand offered to help to bear the weight.  Translation is never enough, though often too much or all that we have to offer. One becomes many.

Translation has made him one of the other Antigones.

 


Joyelle McSweeney is the author of eight books of poetry, drama, fiction and essays. Her most recent books are:  The Necropastoral: Poetry, Media, Occults (Goth eco/poetics);  Dead Youth, or, the Leaks, a verse play which won the first Leslie Scalapino Prize for Innovative Women Performance Artists; and Percussion Grenade, poems and a play. With Johannes Göransson, she edits Action Books, teaches at Notre Dame, and lives in South Bend, Indiana. 

Review of Kathleen McGookey's Heart in a Jar (White Pine, 2017)

Heart in a Jar: Review & Ten-Specimen Cento

by Amelia Martens

 

Amidst seven poems directly addressed to Death, Kathleen McGookey’s prose poem collection, Heart in a Jar (White Pine, 2017) teems with life.

The zoological catalogue, a bright plumage or dark spill, ranges from poems actually set in zoos, to the use of animals as metaphor, to the speaker’s direct attempts to save or at least articulate the life forms which fly, prowl, give birth, weave homes, and suffer in the world around her.  The heart is in a jar for examination, like “The dead cat, stolen from Biology,” and McGookey never turns away from this other side of life.

There is a certainty to these poems, and a struggle to exist in a world where everything dies, a world where boys need bird suits after school, where paper fish have been taught to swim. Things are not as they should be in McGookey’s prose poems. Death must be addressed, animals caged, and Grief Jackets designed and tested. In this examination, McGookey gives us animals, but also so many hearts and other bits of the body—mouths, fingernails, earwax: the physical existence of human animals; “because being an animal is not so bad,” and we have no alternative. These prose poems struggle with parenthood from both sides: “Having a child is not what you think,” to the “universal plight of how to dispose of emotionally charged artifacts” of one’s parents. In small boxes, McGookey points out the unavoidable pain of all stages of life, these miraculous nests made of loss.  Here seemingly opposite emotional states (“In absence, anyone is perfect”) come up against their mirror twins (“Eventually, someone may notice my absence”).

The heart in McGookey’s jar is sometimes human, sometimes another animal, sometimes complete, sometimes torn apart in a recognizable story. Even the landscape is both reliable and painful: “Lake Michigan heaves its slow heartbeat on the sand,” and the speaker is told to “just let it fall” if she drops anything over the side of the lighthouse. How difficult it is to hold on and how difficult to let go in a world crowded by life and loss; Heart in a Jar reflects our fractures back to us. Here we recognize—in animal fables, in trips to the zoo, in our own dreamscapes—how little control we have. Even if we try to rescue some creature, or ourselves, we may “damage it beyond any repair.”

In awe of the animals—the significant life—that McGookey includes in Heart in a Jar, I have gathered her words together in a ten-specimen cento. All lines come from McGookey’s book, which holds even more hearts within.

 

Dear Life: A Ten-Specimen Cento

1.

I’d rather learn facts about penguins: what they eat, how much they weigh, how they stay warm in the Antarctic. Today, it feels like the last, brief bit of birdsong, just before the sparrow in the pine flies away. At twilight, no matter the weather, that single bullfrog called to me. But in the morning, I found the raccoons’ greedy dirty footprints on our cooler. We still had, at least something they wanted.

As for theories, I like luck. But each morning, when I hear the white-throated sparrow making its threats at down, I know you’re not far behind. Whale bones litter the only sky. Fireflies are strung up and dangle by the glass walls. Eventually, someone may notice my absence.

2.

The pregnant skunk moves into the dollhouse—it is available—then nibbles hard-boiled eggs at the table set for three.  All winter mice laid eggs under the stairs near the furnace. Wasn’t it yesterday the tethered owl nuzzled her keeper’s finger and the keeper told us, Put your hands in your pockets. A sleek bee sting and gauzy kisses won’t help. Octopus, vampire, cowgirl, bat. The monkeys inside me are sick of speaking the wrong language. The last monkey wants to swim for it. She believes the vast ocean is only a trick of the eye.

3.

Our angel promised to scrub floors, but we got down on our knees anyway, our hearts like rabbits. Our teeth are white and sharp and long as the bones of fish. When the moon shines in my river, when a butterfly tries to lay eggs on it, we must not touch. It is raining, just barely, and the rain feels like the sleek fur of otters against our cheeks.

4.

Let the barn owl coast above me; let the worms come. If the wind kicks up, you can chase beach balls with the kids and dogs who splash by the reeds. I know truth is precarious. And here you’ve sent a curtain of rain for the cat to hide behind.  Dr. don’t-grieve-for-me tips me back and kittens stare down from the ceiling. They are all trust. So when our dog was run over, when our friend drowned the day his brother won the spelling bee—this was another kind of pain.

5.

When a pair of barn swallows swooped by our conference room’s windows, the committee rejoiced. Some sat for hours and petted the sleeves. I will write any address with immaculate clockwork, immaculate desire, because being an animal is not so bad, there are whole hours, whole afternoons, to drowse by the pond in the cornfield.

6.

The rooster sleeps all the time. I like to drift by the brown horse that grazes in a field lit by dandelions. And please look down into the water. I’ve spent days teaching the paper fish to swim. We make faces and let the wind fill our cheeks like a couple of fat goldfish. The dead cat, stolen from Biology, showed up in my locker. After school, my boy searches through his collection of bird suits: pine siskin, least bittern, brown thrasher, wood thrush. From his closet’s messy nest he pulls chimney swift, shakes twigs from its pockets, slips it on.  Behind him, a lion lies on the concrete, an indifferent royal pet. But the lion does not belong to the angel. Each carefully pretends he is alone.

7.

I’d like to talk about something else for a change, like that small blue frog, which, if licked, kills whatever licked it. The frog might be another color. You might have to eat it to die. The outdoor tank where jellyfish drifted luminous, to piped-in Vivaldi, is in storage now.

8.

The tree frogs’ silver chorus rose in waves as I ran back to my house. I could still hear the girl’s faint sparrow song. Store the box until I want it, then tell me a story, the one where I’m happy as a trout because no one catches me. A fat and silent baby trembled among the glistening trout when my husband hauled in the day’s catch.

9.

Once I read in a children’s book that rain never changes, that the rain on our roof and windows also fell on the dinosaurs. Cat banished, then sought. One bright fish circled in its bowl on the altar. This time of year, swallows dive for feathers to line their nests. And here is the monarch’s chrysalis, dangling under our threshold. Rain and wind worry us, but if we rescue it, we will damage it beyond repair. When I pick up a dead swallowtail, it’s already swarming with ants. I lifted a painted lady, then a black swallowtail, from the dirt. Each was still a little alive.

10.

Nothing sings or swings or swims in me. No flashing trout, no penguin, no saucy chimpanzee. No bright otter, too smart to be caged. The otter is better. Silver bubbles cling to its back behind the aquarium window. Spiders spun silver hammocks where the children swayed, petting pearl-colored kittens that had dropped from the trees. I want four fat mourning doves to strut the roof’s peak, then scatter when a hawk dives.


Amelia Martens is the author of The Spoons in the Grass are There To Dig a Moat (April 2016), a book of prose poems, selected by Sarabande Books for the 2014 Linda Bruckheimer Series in Kentucky Literature. She received both an MFA in Creative Writing and an MS in Literacy, Culture, and Language Education from Indiana University and currently teaches for West Kentucky Community & Technical College.

Review of Catherine Pierce's The Tornado Is the World (Saturnalia, 2016)

The Sounds of Catherine Pierce's The Tornado Is the World


Review & Audio Recording by Julia Koets

 

When we think of tornados, we often think of their sound as much, if not more than we do their shape. Kids that grow up in places where tornados can appear suddenly in a field are told to take cover if they hear a freight train when it storms. It makes sense then that we see (hear?) such close attention to sound in Catherine Pierce’s 2016 poetry collection The Tornado Is the World.

We are given a litany of sounds in this book:

“the birds are calling / with June-hot abandon”
“This / singing winter is an unhinged sweetheart— // all gloss and lilt, until the shift.”
[See here how Pierce’s attention to sound is echoed in the sonic texture in the words themselves: “all gloss and lilt, until the shift.”]
“It’s thrilling, isn’t it, the siren’s howl?”
“the tornado is made of buzz saws”
“In the space left by the ceasing / of the sirens and her baby’s howls, / she hears everything. The cottony sound / of her own breath ratcheting in and out.”
“The animals call and call, / their voices echoing through the rattling aspen.”

One poem in the collection is made up entirely of sounds a tornado hears:

“A dryer tumbling an old man’s one dress shirt”
“An empty stadium”
“A thousand trees cleaved suddenly in half”
(lines from “What the Tornado Hears All the Time”)

Sound has the ability to comfort and to break us, just as before a tornado hits “[t]he sky / darkens and brightens at once.” Sound is complicated, contradictory. In one poem sound takes on a body, a human form:

“Once, the songs slept soft beside me.
Their eyes were like moons
and they never closed them,”
(lines from “I Used to Be Able to Listen to Sad Songs”)

The “I” in the poem used to be able to listen to sad songs, but “Then I learned that we’re born with more bones than we die with.” It’s lines like this one that surprise me in the collection, that teach me things I didn’t know.

These poems aren’t just about tornados—they’re about fear, anxiety, and ordinary sadness. The poems do not offer simple answers to disaster or pain. We are reminded that silence is just as much a sound as any song:

“Silence, because what birds could sing
in those leaves flashing
their milky underbellies?

The wind is sweet but serrated,
like cider slipping over to vinegar.

Our bones weren’t built
to carry this quiet charge.”
(lines from “What the Hour Before the Tornado Feels Like”)

We are reminded that good poems can teach us to listen:

“You’ll hear a steel drum band at some Ohio dive bar
and your chest will open into joy.

Joy—remember it? It’s that feeling
you have when a red sun rises out of a place
you never thought could house a sun.”
(lines from “Get Out”)

When I read Pierce’s collection, I knew I wanted to respond to her work in some way that incorporated sound. So I recorded myself reading one of Pierce’s poems ("The Mother Hears the Tornado Sirens Stop"), used audio software to add echo effects to sections of the text, and then mixed the track with a recording of a tornado warning siren.


Julia Koets’s poetry collection, Hold Like Owls, won the 2011 South Carolina Poetry Book Prize and was published by the University of South Carolina Press. Her poetry and nonfiction have been published in journals including Indiana Review, The Los Angeles Review, and Carolina QuarterlyShe has an MFA in poetry from the University of South Carolina and a PhD in creative writing from the University of Cincinnati.

Review of Imani Sims's (A)Live Heart (Sibling Rivalry, 2016)

 

Complex Anatomy in Imani Sims's (A)Live Heart

by Rochelle Hurt

 

Last week I watched a horde of neo-Nazis march through Charlottesville on my computer screen, their confederate flags waving alongside swastikas, and for a moment I thought about Imani Sims’s chapbook, (A)Live Heart. It had been over a month since I’d finished reading it, but the work had left me with a visceral understanding of pain and resilience that seemed to reactivate when I saw a car drive through a crowd of people as if they were mere debris. Though I knew what I was watching, I still felt shocked at the moment of impact, as if I had expected the whole scene to simply tear open like a paper façade in a cartoon. The relationship between media and reality becomes labyrinthine in these clips and photos of violence. Take the footage of Philando Castile: a man bleeds out in a car as a woman films it and we watch her film it in real time and perhaps with every update on the case we watch it again and again, bringing the man to life and then watching him die over and over, making the woman refilm and refilm. It’s so maddening and surreal that the pain of the matter—the actual physical pain—can sort of fade as the dead man begins only to exist in this suspended frame within a frame.

It’s even easy to forget, amid the shock and outrage, that this antagonistic relationship between real bodies and media images also causes real physical damage. It prescribes our understandings of who is allowed to be real, whose body feels pain, who is a subject and who is an object. Many people have written about this relationship in terms of race, gender, sexuality, and ability. So it shouldn’t have been surprising that when I searched for stock images of a realistic human anatomy illustration as I prepared to write about (A)Live Heart, I found only white bodies (along with a few cartoonish men of color, no women). Look at the one below—the little scrap of pink flesh clinging to the hand, desperately labeling the default human epidermis as white. White bodies are real things to be studied and medically treated, it says. And what of other bodies—the ones we see not in anatomy diagrams but in images of violence?

This is a long introduction to Sims’s book, I know, but it is a work that calls for synthesis of ideas, for a living and breathing context. Sims develops an anatomy of the vulnerable, resilient, hurting, sensual, and sexual self in all of its complex reality. 

 

“Take inventory: a collection” of passages on the body in Imani Sims’s (A)Live Heart

 
Labels quoted from (A)Live Heart by Imani Sims
 

(A)Live Heart breathes steadily through the wounds and broken bones of otherized bodies, often answering violence with sensuality. In “Pretty Girls Don’t Get Tickets,” the speaker notes that “black girls / get arrested. Die / in jail cells,” and asks: “What does it / mean to be / captive parts piled // beneath‘you are just a black / girl, mule, mammy, // pick-a-ninny, object: oppressed.’ ” The next poem, “Consanguinity,” provides not a direct answer, but a brief antidote: “She is blood / Deep ancestral chime … Slick pussy lips: // Eternal night.” The bloodshed and darkness in the previous poem has become a well of sensuality, and one of the "parts" a way for the subject to not just survive violence but continue to thrive and feel pleasure in a physical body under constant threat. When depictions of violence are deployed in this book, they are subsequently transformed into ammunition in metaphors that resist the notion of the Black body, the femme body, or the queer body as merely a target for violence; Sims returns these bodies to subjectivity.

Pleasure, love, and joy in the midst of pain is a theme that courses through the collection. In “Soul Retrieval,” the villanelle form emphasizes this process of transformation through evolving repetition of refrain words like “witness,” “white,” “stars,” “darkness,” “aspiration,” “limbs,” “brown,” “feminine,” “wilted,” and “blaze,” which see the subject “frozen in time,” yet godly, forming stars with her own laughter. Parts of her are broken, but “Survived [is] inscribed across this wilted // Body.” The poem dances through a duality of victimization and empowerment until finally the speaker ends as she began, ultimately “coiled but unbound.” Yet the message of (A)Live Heart is not one of pat consolation. Sims denies this early on in poems like “Cages Never Sing,” which drives home the brutality of gendered oppression without leaning on platitudes for comfort: “Her aging breast, buckled legs / An open cage, her lovers // Piss in.” Sims’s work is urgent rather than consolatory.

In re-reading (A)Live Heart this week, I returned to the idea of media imagery and how it can dehumanize people by glossing over the visceral reality of bodies in pain and bodies in pleasure—particularly when those bodies are already otherized. Sims’s book is a passionate and necessary reminder of this reality.


Rochelle Hurt is the author of In Which I Play the Runaway (Barrow Street, 2016), which won the Barrow Street Book Prize, and The Rusted City (White Pine, 2014), a novella in prose poems. The recipient of awards and fellowships from Crab Orchard Review, Arts & Letters, Poetry International, Vermont Studio Center, Jentel, and Yaddo, she is Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Slippery Rock University.