Jeanann Verlee digs into the culture of violence against women in Prey. Published last August, the collection of poems is broken into five parts. The speaker details her own story of an abusive ex-husband and the horrors he put her through, as well as a broader focus: “The New Crucible” speaks on the ways men have used religion to justify their violence against women, and multiple pieces called “His Version” are made of quotes from men like Brock Turner and the men involved in the Steubenville rape trial. The latter set of poems are presented without comment, without words from Verlee, speaking volumes on their own. Verlee writes with unflinching honesty, recording a history of violence that leaves one breathless and bent defensively over the pages.
Review by Katy Haas