Before After by Owen McLeod
Saturnalia Books, March 2023
From action figures to alcoholism, mental illness to mortality, devotion to divorce, Before After interrogates yet celebrates the paradoxes of living in a world both beautiful and brutal—a world, according to these poems, in which Jesus texts random emojis from the cross, people suddenly sprout wings, human hearts are replaced by Platonic machines, and caskets are shrunk down to serve as symbolic trinkets. Along this journey through the real and surreal, the works of great poets—Hopkins, Plath, Lowell, and more—are lovingly subverted in the search for novel meanings that match this world. Written by a self-taught and award-winning poet, Before After challenges, with wit and compassion, our distinctions between thinking and feeling, sacred and profane, wellness and madness, before and after.
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