Empty Clip, my third manuscript, bores into those acts of violence against the body, identity, self-hood, and privacy faced by American women. I have been working for two years on the manuscript; I started writing the poems during my facial surgeries against melanoma, a time in which I felt fragmented: cut open (or “flayed,” as one of my surgeons said) and divorced from desire, gender, self-image. The poems began with that experience, but I soon reached for other situations in which the wholeness of female bodies is challenged by violence or perception: a memory of possible abuse by the eponymous “Red-Haired Man,” the receipt of lewd cell phone images, a teenage girl’s car crash into the tree outside my childhood bedroom window, the gaze of an aerial drone upon a woman meeting her lover, and so on. These reckonings allowed for a kind of self-portraiture, an autobiography through my imagination of things that unsettled, terrified, and angered me. In this way, the poems continue to urge me to live in my body, even if it is a body that’s rocked by trauma, uneasy in and inflamed by a culture of control. My feminism is bodily, as I hope my poems are, for it seems sometimes that poems have allowed me to live and move more—be—against the turncloak flesh and those who would claim to know it.
I will make links available to the manuscript’s poems published online available below.
EXCERPTS FROM HOLLOW POINT ONLINE
- “The days that were have now” in Boston Review
- “FACESOFDEATH.COM,” “Fingers in a Throat,” and “To the Previous Tenant” in The Collapsar
- “The CIA Livetweets the Assassination of Usama Bin Ladin Five Years Later” in Horsethief
- “To the Neighbor Boy with His Father’s Hunting Rifle, Begging Police to Shoot” in Lunch
- “Overpass” and “Nocturne, Lamar’s Chrystal Lounge” in Memorious
- “On Receipt of a Dick Pic” in Muzzle
- “Scar” on Poem-a-Day from the Academy of American Poets
- “Dream of the Phone Booth” in Poetry