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Wound from the Mouth of a Wound

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A versatile missive written from the intersections of gender, disability, trauma, and survival. "Some girls are not made," torrin a. greathouse writes, "but spring from the dirt." Guided by a devastatingly precise hand, Wound from the Mouth of a Wound--selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil as the winner of the 2020 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry--challenges a canon that decide A versatile missive written from the intersections of gender, disability, trauma, and survival. "Some girls are not made," torrin a. greathouse writes, "but spring from the dirt." Guided by a devastatingly precise hand, Wound from the Mouth of a Wound--selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil as the winner of the 2020 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry--challenges a canon that decides what shades of beauty deserve to live in a poem. greathouse celebrates "buckteeth & ulcer." She odes the pulp of a bedsore. She argues that the vestigial is not devoid of meaning, and in kinetic and vigorous language, she honors bodies the world too often wants dead. These poems ache, but they do not surrender. They bleed, but they spit the blood in our eyes. Their imagery pulses on the page, fractal and fluid, blooming in a medley of forms: broken essays, haibun born of erasure, a sonnet meant to be read in the mirror. greathouse's poetry demands more of language and those who wield it. "I'm still learning not to let a stranger speak / me into a funeral." Concrete and evocative, Wound from the Mouth of a Wound is a testament to persistence, even when the body is not allowed to thrive. greathouse--elegant, vicious, "a one-girl armageddon" draped in crushed velvet--teaches us that fragility is not synonymous with flaw.


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A versatile missive written from the intersections of gender, disability, trauma, and survival. "Some girls are not made," torrin a. greathouse writes, "but spring from the dirt." Guided by a devastatingly precise hand, Wound from the Mouth of a Wound--selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil as the winner of the 2020 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry--challenges a canon that decide A versatile missive written from the intersections of gender, disability, trauma, and survival. "Some girls are not made," torrin a. greathouse writes, "but spring from the dirt." Guided by a devastatingly precise hand, Wound from the Mouth of a Wound--selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil as the winner of the 2020 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry--challenges a canon that decides what shades of beauty deserve to live in a poem. greathouse celebrates "buckteeth & ulcer." She odes the pulp of a bedsore. She argues that the vestigial is not devoid of meaning, and in kinetic and vigorous language, she honors bodies the world too often wants dead. These poems ache, but they do not surrender. They bleed, but they spit the blood in our eyes. Their imagery pulses on the page, fractal and fluid, blooming in a medley of forms: broken essays, haibun born of erasure, a sonnet meant to be read in the mirror. greathouse's poetry demands more of language and those who wield it. "I'm still learning not to let a stranger speak / me into a funeral." Concrete and evocative, Wound from the Mouth of a Wound is a testament to persistence, even when the body is not allowed to thrive. greathouse--elegant, vicious, "a one-girl armageddon" draped in crushed velvet--teaches us that fragility is not synonymous with flaw.

53 review for Wound from the Mouth of a Wound

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sruthi Narayanan

    Absolutely incredible. Every poem in this collection is razor-precise and, per the review, “demands more of language and those who wield it” in a way that’s utterly electrifying and left me SWEATING.

  2. 5 out of 5

    Melissa Reddish

    Easily my favorite book read in 2020.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Naro

    Painful and powerful — their words echo. They hurt and they haunt. There was so much violence, real and raw, tempered at times with tenderness, but otherwise, uncensored. Reading through each piece, I had to brace myself from the onslaught of imagery and music so near and relevant even in my own safe and unsafe spaces in the Philippines. A familiar discomfort sinks in my chest as I am left to confront my own universe after the words fade, when I am left again to discover the confinements of myse Painful and powerful — their words echo. They hurt and they haunt. There was so much violence, real and raw, tempered at times with tenderness, but otherwise, uncensored. Reading through each piece, I had to brace myself from the onslaught of imagery and music so near and relevant even in my own safe and unsafe spaces in the Philippines. A familiar discomfort sinks in my chest as I am left to confront my own universe after the words fade, when I am left again to discover the confinements of myself. What I appreciated from this collection is its interrogation of the whole alongside the parts, one’s complex identity as tangential to the sociopolitical architectures of the world—from medicine to family, from statistics to bathrooms, from gene to whiteness to psychology to fire, from disability to power to pathology to love. The poems embraced paradoxes of gender and sexuality which provokes me to sink my teeth into questions long set aside, and gave me energy to climb and break through questions which have walled me in. What does this suffering mean for me? The experience of reading this collection can be summed up to faith in my outrage, in my desire to comfort, embrace, and touch with an affection and intimacy beyond binaries the voice pulsing with so much body. And share warmth. Daghang salamat (thank you very much) to the poet for the courage to render oneself vulnerable, your words echo through and will live on in my trans-cendental throat.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Courtney LeBlanc

    torrin a. greathouse's debut collection of poetry doesn't shy away from the hard topics, facing issues of gender, shame, disability, survival, illness and acceptance head-on. Her poems are both brutal and beautiful. from Burning Haibun: "My mother marries an alcoholic & gives / birth to kindling. This is to say, my father calls his child a faggot & watched them burn. / Did I inherit this addiction from my father or the queer of my blood? Once, I swallowed liquor / like guilt & named this family. torrin a. greathouse's debut collection of poetry doesn't shy away from the hard topics, facing issues of gender, shame, disability, survival, illness and acceptance head-on. Her poems are both brutal and beautiful. from Burning Haibun: "My mother marries an alcoholic & gives / birth to kindling. This is to say, my father calls his child a faggot & watched them burn. / Did I inherit this addiction from my father or the queer of my blood? Once, I swallowed liquor / like guilt & named this family." from Family Portrait as Unfinished Meal: "meat must be beaten / brutal into tenderness. // That any body softens / with violence." from Ekphrasis on My Rapist's Wedding Dress: "For any metaphor I can put to it, the dress / is still beautiful. Pale & soft & pure. & isn't this just like my poems? / Dressing a violence into something pretty & telling it to dance?"

  5. 4 out of 5

    Devann

    I received an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss Am I the serpent-headed girl? Or her endless reflection? Or the winged mare burst forth from her blood? Child of slaughter. Wound from the mouth of a wound. I probably should have waited until a bit closer to publication to read this one but I was in the mood for it and poetry is generally so hit or miss for me that I figured I should go ahead and jump on it and ended up really loving it! It reminded me a lot of The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One exc I received an ARC copy of this book from Edelweiss Am I the serpent-headed girl? Or her endless reflection? Or the winged mare burst forth from her blood? Child of slaughter. Wound from the mouth of a wound. I probably should have waited until a bit closer to publication to read this one but I was in the mood for it and poetry is generally so hit or miss for me that I figured I should go ahead and jump on it and ended up really loving it! It reminded me a lot of The Witch Doesn't Burn in This One except it has a more narrow focus on the experience of trans and disabled women. Would definitely recommend this to people like me who struggle to find poetry they enjoy as it's written in a more modern prose-poetry style that I personally find easier to absorb and relate to.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Amie Whittemore

    Such a heartbreaking and brave collection examining the trauma of growing up transgender, of trying to reconcile one's sexuality and gender with one's family, the many divisions and frictions that arise from such claiming of self, such brave claiming of one's life. Such a heartbreaking and brave collection examining the trauma of growing up transgender, of trying to reconcile one's sexuality and gender with one's family, the many divisions and frictions that arise from such claiming of self, such brave claiming of one's life.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jessica

    "Do not make me tell this story without a forked tongue." Loved the formal playfulness. So many new favorite poems. Though this may still be my favorite: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poet... "Do not make me tell this story without a forked tongue." Loved the formal playfulness. So many new favorite poems. Though this may still be my favorite: https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poet...

  8. 5 out of 5

    emmy

    This book is featured in a blog post at https://booksbeyondbinaries.blog/2020... This book is featured in a blog post at https://booksbeyondbinaries.blog/2020...

  9. 5 out of 5

    Katie Miller

  10. 5 out of 5

    Kay

  11. 5 out of 5

    Shaina Clingempeel

  12. 5 out of 5

    Laurie

  13. 5 out of 5

    Olivia

  14. 5 out of 5

    Abby

  15. 4 out of 5

    Madi

  16. 4 out of 5

    Emily

  17. 5 out of 5

    Angelica

  18. 4 out of 5

    Megan

  19. 5 out of 5

    Zeyn Joukhadar

  20. 5 out of 5

    Meagan Bachmayer

  21. 4 out of 5

    Jessica Suchon

  22. 4 out of 5

    Skyler Leonard

  23. 5 out of 5

    Lee Anderson

  24. 4 out of 5

    Sophia Bailey

  25. 4 out of 5

    Vaveli12

  26. 5 out of 5

    molly

  27. 5 out of 5

    Jessika

  28. 4 out of 5

    rosalind

  29. 5 out of 5

    Danielle

  30. 5 out of 5

    Carlos Pittella

  31. 4 out of 5

    Crystal

  32. 4 out of 5

    Jennie Johnson

  33. 4 out of 5

    Spencer

  34. 4 out of 5

    S. Elizabeth

  35. 5 out of 5

    Audrey

  36. 5 out of 5

    Matilda Sabal

  37. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

  38. 4 out of 5

    kitty

  39. 5 out of 5

    Mara

  40. 5 out of 5

    Allyson Ferrari

  41. 4 out of 5

    Mack

  42. 4 out of 5

    Krista

  43. 4 out of 5

    Jihyun Yun

  44. 4 out of 5

    Alyson

  45. 4 out of 5

    Dana Sweeney

  46. 4 out of 5

    Loretta

  47. 5 out of 5

    Stephanie Myers

  48. 4 out of 5

    Jackie

  49. 4 out of 5

    Nat

  50. 5 out of 5

    E.

  51. 5 out of 5

    Jo Reyes-Boitel

  52. 4 out of 5

    Lisa

  53. 4 out of 5

    Shay Dewael

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