No Way in the Skin Without This Bloody Embrace by Jean D’Amérique
Ugly Duckling Presse, September 2022
In Jean D’Amérique’s book-length poem, translated from the French by Conor Bracken, each page is as brief as a hurricane’s eye, glimpsing the eerie territory his speaker traverses like an apocalyptic flâneur. His “body / a devastation inventory,” his stroll a “walk / to curse the sidewalks,” he peers into the ruins—left by the winds of colonialism, capitalism, war, and natural disaster—and sees a “crop of eyes” peering back. What others dismiss as broken, for D’Amérique, is a mirror in shards, “drinking up all the world’s rot / then spilling it all out in diamantine rays.” The first of his books to appear in English, this work reclaims the visceral potency of poetry—it is food, it is “collars of blood,” it is a garment sewn with “a thread of sobs.”
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