God Had a Body: Poems

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Product Details

Indiana University Press
5.5 X 8.5 X 0.27 inches | 0.33 pounds

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About the Author

Born and raised in Kentucky, Jennie Malboeuf received a BA at Centre College and an MFA at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. Her poems have appeared in the Gettysburg Review, VQR, the Southern Review, Best New Poets, and elsewhere. She lives in North Carolina with her husband, David, and dog, Mavis. She teaches writing at Guilford College.


"Salient and provoking, sensuous and cerebral, Jennie Malboeuf's poems locate holiness in the living, dead, partial and whole creations of this planet: among them a "cow's eye . . . so pretty I squinched hard/and wished it back to the socket"; a "redback spider [that] throws himself/into the hollow fangs of his beloved"; a dead whale whose "mouth hung open/like a friendly doorway," until "that certain scent of ending" makes the human fantasy of welcome clear. Yes, we are like the animals--whether tiny or enormous--but make no mistake: they are themselves, worthy of our attention and our reverence, rarely reflecting us. As Malboeuf puts it, "the birds we kept/in cages fought any mirror." The poet laces her observant news of these encounters with a biblical re-envisioning, as well as with her own peculiar wit: for example, in "The Cow's Eye," Malboeuf notes that "Daddy picked it up from the stockyards . . . He said it'd help with my science project." In another encounter, the speaker's father has a run-in with a mosquito: "at the height of an anecdote, a mosquito, a female, / flew inside his head." The humor there is spiky and profound. At the doctor's office, the daughter gets to see "the mold of hot wax they poured to pull her--preserved in flight--right out." In "The Hydra," that organism is described as "a penis-shaped creature with a spider/topping its head." This poet thrives amid and among other bodies, observing, feeling, and listening, trying very hard not to cut life short or diminish its sacredness with fallible descriptions, while acknowledging with her striking wit our human-centric eye. I relish these poems and will return to them for their stories, their humor, and the ways they intertwine language and life."--Lisa Williams, author of Woman Reading to the Sea

"There is a fierce spirituality and mordant wit in God had a body, Jennie Malboeuf's first book of poems. Here is a poet with a transformative vision of divine and earthly enterprise as well as a sharp eye for the repercussions of physical detail. Malboeuf's use of enactments and embodiments--actions and images--startle and awaken the reader to a powerful new voice in American poetry. What a glorious debut collection."--Stuart Dischell, author of Children with Enemies