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ISBN: 978-1-62557-045-1
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Categories Poetry

Excisions

Publication Date: April 2023

About

Excisions investigates the feeling—the problem and the syntax—of being on a threshold. If you don’t know what will happen next, you can’t yet say what has happened. These poems arise from states of precise unknowing, desperate imagination, inchoate emotion, encounters with mortality and power when they’re closing in but haven’t caught you yet. What is choice, given the terms of an ill body, survival in a grotesque empire? Tenderly and acutely, these poems examine the life of before and after: when something is excised from you, it was you, and you are what remains.

Praise

Out of hospitals, marriage bedrooms, woodland parks and city centers—the vanishing borders between the healthy and the sick—Hilary Plum’s poems emerge hard-edged and fully formed. She is dynamically attuned to the fragility and ferociousness of our attachments to one another, “a long storm of hello.” Densely lyrical and possessed of austere beauty, Excisions recalls the poetry of Jorie Graham, Victoria Chang and George Oppen, but Plum’s voice is her own—flinty, incantatory and undeniable.

—Daniel Poppick

A compass works because our inner core, part crystal, contains intense pressure preventing iron from melting beyond the melting point. This is Excisions’ poetic consciousness. Repairing the illusion of mindbody disconnect, yet in this book there’s no word for cure or its tailspin outside of artistic reconnaissance. We’re at the hospital so much as to redraw transportation schemas—a gas guzzling gurney—one awakens from their dreams in a paper robe staring at the bluest bulge of vein. To be is to recognize intense stares from eyes who don’t yet exist totally inside. Outpatient futurity and fugitivity is the same evolutionary experience of the civilizational body. Between poet and patient is warm sea foam from the moon’s unrest of having to be so old a witness! Plum’s transmissions from the funeral of Aesculapius surrealism. In Plum’s poems, the people with names dig up and brush off the bones.

—Dot Devota

About the Author

Hilary Plum

Hilary Plum is the author of the novels Strawberry Fields and They Dragged Them Through the Streets and the work of nonfiction Watchfires, which received the 2018 GLCA New Writers Award. She has worked for a number of years as an editor of international literature, history, and politics. She teaches at Cleveland State University and in the NEOMFA program and is associate director of the CSU Poetry Center. With Zach Savich she edits the Open Prose Series at Rescue Press. www.hilaryplum.com

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