Poetry. Women's Studies. Winner of the 2019 Tenth Gate Prize. This surreal series of prose poems, harmonic and jarring, pops the reader into a world where the animal is a danger-suit we might all don, or is a force of chaos that breaks families, or America's unconscious hatred of women. Perhaps it is our world, perhaps more real than surreal. One of the most unusual investigations of gender and family, this collection disorders and disturbs, knowing that upending the status quo makes the best manners of all.
I'm so happy I "discovered" poetry a few years ago, it's so easy to check out different genres and types and finding your own favourite method is really fun to do. I love poems that tell a story and Gorilla definitely falls into this category, each poem itself tells a tale and there's also a running thread through the whole collection.
Gorilla is on of the more challenging poetry collections I've read. The use of magical realism alongside anthropomorphism it at times meant I had to read the poem a second time to ensure I'd understood what I had read. This is not a bad thing! Poetry should be re read as you pick up something different each time you read.
I was listening to a lot of Kate Bush while reading this, which I really felt enhanced the experience and feeling of being just on the edge of reality.
The poems are written beautifully and I could definitely feel the emotion and I identified myself in more than one of them.
Overall a really excellent collection and I'll be excited to read more poetry by the author.
I gave this book 4 stars.
About The Author
Christine E. Hamm, queer & disabled English Professor, social worker and student of ecopoetics, has a PhD in English, and lives in New Jersey. She recently won the Tenth Gate prize from Word Works for her manuscript, Gorilla. She has had work featured in North American Review, Nat Brut, Painted Bride Quarterly and many others. She has published six chapbooks, and several books -- including Saints & Cannibals, about which Cynthia Cruz said, "Joyfully acrobatic is her language and the wonderful jumps she makes. Hers is a voice we have been waiting for."
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