"The poems in Emily Skaja's BRUTE speak of brutality, of breaking, of endings, of beginnings. Brute is an elegy for a relationship's end, an intimate excavation, but also, these poems are a rhapsody, a rage. Skaja's poetry is deft, nimble, willing to inhabit contradictions--'What is this impulse in me to worship & crucify / anyone who leaves me.' Each poem is exquisitely crafted, visceral, indelible. Brute will cut right through you, cut deep, but the writing is so assured, so necessary, that you will welcome the wound."--Roxane Gay
"BRUTE, though a collection of singular poems, is essentially one long, elegiac howl for the end of a relationship. It never lets up--this living--even when the world as we knew it is crushed. So what do we do with the brokenness? We document it, as Emily Skaja has done in BRUTE. We sing of the brokenness as we emerge from it. We sing the holy objects, the white moths that fly from our mouths, and we stand with the new, wet earth that has been created with our terrible songs."--Joy Harjo, judge's citation for the Walt Whitman Award
About the book:
Selected by Joy Harjo as the winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets
Emily Skaja's debut collection is a fiery, hypnotic book that confronts the dark questions and menacing silences around gender, sexuality, and violence. BRUTE arises, brave and furious, from the dissolution of a relationship, showing how such endings necessitate self-discovery and reinvention. The speaker of these poems is a sorceress, a bride, a warrior, a lover, both object and agent, ricocheting among ways of knowing and being known. Each incarnation squares itself up against ideas of feminine virtue and sin, strength and vulnerability, love and rage, as it closes in on a hard-won freedom.
BRUTE is absolutely sure of its capacity to insist not only on the truth of what it says but on the truth of its right to say it. "What am I supposed to say: I'm free?" the first poem asks. The rest of the poems emphatically discover new ways to answer. This is a timely winner of the Walt Whitman Award, and an introduction to an unforgettable voice.
About the Emily Skaja:
Emily Skaja grew up in rural Illinois and is a graduate of the creative writing MFA program at Purdue University. Her poems have been published in Best New Poets, Blackbird, Crazyhorse, FIELD, and Gulf Coast. She lives in Memphis, Tennessee.
About Karyna McGlynn:
Karyna McGlynn is a poet & collagist from Austin, TX. She is the author of HOTHOUSE (Sarabande 2017), THE 9-DAY QUEEN GETS LOST ON HER WAY TO THE EXECUTION (Willow Springs 2016), and I HAVE TO GO BACK TO 1994 AND KILL A GIRL (Sarabande 2009). Her poems have recently appeared in The Kenyon Review, Tupelo Quarterly, Witness, Georgia Review, New England Review, and The Academy of American Poet’s Poem-A-Day. Karyna is an Assistant Professor of Creative Writing at Christian Brothers University in Memphis and teaches with Tennessee Young Writers Workshop. Find her at www.karyna.io or on instagram/twitter Karyna McGlynn
About Caki Wilkinson:
Caki Wilkinson is the author of the poetry collections CIRCLES WHERE THE HEAD SHOULD BE (2011), which won the Vassar Miller Prize, and THE WYNONA STONE POEMS (2015), which won the Lexi Rudnitsky Editor's Choice Award from Persea Books. Her recent work has appeared or is forthcoming in Nation, The Yale Review, Kenyon Review, and other magazines. She lives in Memphis, TN and directs the creative writing program at Rhodes College.
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