More Than Organs
A love letter to Brown, Queer, and Trans futures, Kay Ulanday Barrett's More Than Organs questions "whatever wholeness means" for bodies always in transit, for the safeties and dangers they silo. These poems remix people of color as earthbenders, replay "the choreography of loss" after the 2015 Pulse shooting, and till joy from the cosmic sweetness of a family's culinary history. Barrett works "to build / a shelter // of / everyone / [they] meet," from aunties to the legendary Princess Urduja to their favorite air sign. More Than Organs tattoos grief across the knuckles of its left hand and love across the knuckles of its right, leaving the reader physically changed by the intensity of experience, longing, strength, desire, and the need, above all else, to survive.
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Kay Ulanday Barrett's More Than Organs journeys between the worlds of memory and the living, acting as a map that leads the reader into the sacred. Charting the space between "the kinship of hunger and pain," poem after poem refuses the reader rest as the lines grapple with tensions erupting from the queerest art of living. Sometimes joy; sometimes grief. Witness loss, legend, survival, betrayal--all canyons and mesas crafted in the topography of the heart--sear with honesty their testament to chronic pain and endurance against a toxic America. What a gift to drink deep these queer, brown, fiercely resisting poems and to crack open your palette. Reader, follow this fearless, vulnerable speaker into the magic and you will "want to lay down / and just / live in it." -Rajiv Mohabir, author of The Cowherd's Son and The Taxidermist's Cut
"What is hunger ... but the carving out of emptiness." And so in their defiant poetry collection, More Than Organs, Kay Ulanday Barrett excavates and hollows out a queer, trans, brown body to expose, examine and interrogate the difficulties and heartaches of such existence. What is discovered is forged out of anger, injustice, defiance and love. These shapeshifting poems are insistent and persistent in their brazen attempts at making flesh and whole the undefinable nature of gender, race and physical/social being. I admire their direct honesty, how they rage! And how ultimately "the body is a letter/folded backward, all strange angles, confessions." - Joseph O. Legaspi, author of Threshold and Imago