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ISBN: 978-0-9970933-6-0
Categories Nomadic, Poetry

Dear Animal,

Publication Date: November 2016


In June of 2023, Black Lawrence Press welcomed numerous existing and forthcoming Nomadic Press titles to our catalogue. Dear Animal, was originally published by Nomadic.


In this wide-ranging collection of poems, MK Chavez touches on themes from youth to adult, sensual and heartbreaking, erotic and political, investing form and language with a subtle force that moves you to places one has not been to before.

Imaginative and original, MK Chavez is a poet for our times whose work lingers on the mind and tongue long after the book is closed.

-Alejandro Murguía

MK Chavez is a dangerous woman. A survivor, a shaker, a maker, a bruja. We need more poets who can spit fire and get real the way she does.

-D. A. Powell

In Dear Animal, as in the salutation to a frank and feisty love letter, the poet is a ‘pure bird of the street,’ a ‘rock dove,’ or maybe ‘Joan of Arc,’ in an imperfect, urban, gendered zoology. The poet declares that she studies vaginas, her ‘Long Deep Wound.’ It’s the source of her boundless will and power. She tells us, ‘See through me. See the violet of my natural disaster, my exposed boutique,’ demonstrating her knowledge with intimate vignettes, vivid lists, tales of her yearnings and exploits. She says, ‘I’m a crime.’ But if these gorgeous and graphic poems, full of devotion, read as criminal, sign me up for their poetic justice.’

-Joyce Jenkins

MK Chavez’s poetry is sensual and fierce. I read Dear Animal, aloud to myself every day and I get sexier and more courageous every day because of it.

-Ariel Gore

MK Chavez wields a torrential consciousness that exists both as racing music and a suspended realm of human astronomy. Memorials share food with births. Freedom fighters and artists must be one. Patriarchy must answer for its brutalization and farce. Sketches of loves expand the boundaries of poetry. Reading her poetry, I feel invincible. Dear Animal is the incantation before justice, and truly our return.

-Tongo Eisen-Martin

MK Chavez uses the kind of carefully chosen words—an economy of language that must certainly be the result of great thought and care—that feels liquid in its ease; and yet the vividness of the figures, interactions, and settings she portrays and the intensity of the sensory memories and associations her language evokes belie a complexity and sophistication of thought that is, in the end, a richly satisfying portrait of contemporary life, its conflicts, its comforts, and its discontents.

-Ajuan Mance

About the Author

MK Chavez

MK Chavez is an Afro-Latinx writer, educator, multi-disciplinary artist, and curator. Chavez is co-director of the Berkeley Poetry Festival and co-founder and curator of Lyrics & Dirges and teaches and supports writers at Ouroboros Writing Lab. Chavez's writing explores identity, social injustice, environmental degradation, horror cinema, magic, and ritual and has been recognized with a Pen Oakland Josephine Miles award, the San Francisco Foundation/Nomadic Press Literary Award. Chavez is a 2018 Alameda County Arts Leadership Award recipient and a 2023 YBCA 100 fellow. Chavez’s literary offerings include Dear Animal, Mothermorphosis, the lyric essay chapbook A Brief History of the Selfie, and Virgin Eyes. Chavez’s work can be found among the trees in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park through the Voices of the Trees Project.

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