Appalachian genderqueer punk writer C. Russell Price's first full-length poetry collection is a somatic grimoire exploring desire, gender, and sexuality in multiverse littered with flowers and product placement. Part pop culture bubblegum lip smack, part battle cry, this collection asks, What is radical vengeance, and does true survivorship from sexual trauma exist only in fantasy, or is it an attainable reality?
Price's cinematic approach to language and scene is on full display, as well as their dark humor and resilience. Within these pages, the surreal is familiar and grief is a national pastime. If the end is near, who among us would not put on Fleetwood Mac? Who would not clean up their eyeliner just a smidge? This collection pulses with the beat that follows destruction (whether human or natural), the moment the jaw unhinges. These poems are not for pearl clutchers. They are for those who have already felt their private apocalypse.
PRETEND A PANDEMIC Bud Initiation Human Flesh Search Engine An Anti-Armageddon Poem THERE WILL COME SOFT RAINS AND THE SMELL OF THE GROUND Armageddon Origin Story On Reading A Copy of Pushkin I Stole From My Childhood Rapist, A Cento The Poem In Which The Apocalypse Doesn’t Go So Terribly Mr. Doomsday BUT ABOUT THAT DAY OR HOUR NO ONE KNOWS, NOT EVEN THE ANGELS IN HEAVEN, NOR THE SON, BUT ONLY THE FATHER...TWO MEN WILL BE IN THE FIELD; ONE WILL BE TAKEN AND THE OTHER LEFT. Our Love Transcends Sexuality & Gender & Time & Place; Translation: Not Now, Not Ever Someone Is Missing for You And The Whole World Feels Empty If You Want Space, Join NASA We Fold The Flag And Name The Dead HUSH MONEY On When They Say Hustling They Don’t Mean Dicking Down A Stranger I Did An Ugly Thing Once, But It Was In A Beautiful Room The Tsunami Was Not A Metaphor. For A Full Day I Was The Drowning Wave How To Die On A Farm Double Fisting at a Gay Sex Club Because A Man Is Buying Me Drinks So He Can Watch Me Pee And I’m Thinking Of You ALL THE BEAUTIFUL MEN I TOUCH MYSELF TO ARE DEAD AND BEAUTIFUL Sweetwater, Texas Desiree Says, “There Were Crisis Actors at the Crucifixion of Jesus Christ” Then, Brother, Get Back, ‘cause My Breast’s Gonna Bust Open My Sweetheart Is A Drunkard, Lord, He Drinks Down In New Orleans I HEARD SOMEBODY SAY, “DISCO INFERNO, BURN THIS MOTHER DOWN.” Oh Baby, I Hope When They Take You They Take Me Too I Think We’re Alone Now: Your Lips, My Lips, Apocalypse Death Comes For The Good Ol’ Boys Why Can’t My Heaven Be A Mobile Home Park In A Carolina Where I Have Big Hair And Work Reception At My Husband’s Tattoo Parlor? GIVE ME TWO THINGS: A LOOKOUT & A SHOVEL Armageddon Via Telephone Wires After Growing Bored With Synonyms For The Apocalypse, I Rename It Carl (a Man With Intricate Tattoos, A Large Penis, And A Coup De Ville) DANCE YOURSELF CLEAN How To Stay Politically Active While Fucking The Existential Dread Away When Someone Asks My Gender I Say A Nonexistent Month Ars Poetica: [We’ll Take Our Turn, Singing/ Dirty Rap Songs] My Sexual Identity Is A Toaster In A Bathtub JUST BECAUSE THEY’RE GODS, DOESN’T MEAN YOU CAN’T BRIEFLY DISAGREE Virginia, 1999 A La Y2K Trying To Catch A Deluge In A Paper Cup It Passed For Feathers The Glove NOW COMES IN THE FUCKERY And How Can It Be That This Means Nothing To Anyone But Me Now A Household God A Love Poem Will Not Save the World OFF CAMERA THERE IS A BEACH & A PARTY Does He Like You Or Is He Just Midwestern? Th e Only Living Boys In New York The Devil Rules This World Because He Created It And That God Is Far Away THE DEVIL HAS BEEN BUSY TODAY Release Your Fear: The War Cries Of Hummingbirds This Must Be The Place YOU KNEW THERE HAD TO BE A RECKONING Gay $ Fetch The Bolt Cutters IT’S A NICE DAY TO START AGAIN, IT’S A NICE DAY FOR A WHITE WEDDING Apocalypse With Eyeliner
C. RUSSELL PRICE is originally from Glade Spring, Virginia, but now lives in Chicago. They are a Lambda Fellow in Poetry, a Ragdale Fellow, a Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree, an essayist, and a poet. They are the author of a chapbook, Tonight, We Fuck the Trailer Park Out of Each Other. Their work has appeared in the Boston Review, Court Green, DIAGRAM, Iron Horse Literary Review, Lambda Literary, Nimrod International, PANK, and elsewhere.
“This debut by an ‘Appalachian genderqueer punk writer’ is as playful and provocative as you might guess.” —New York Times
“Price uses powerful, honest language to discuss heavy topics such as mental health and sexual assault. It is a book filled with resilience, pain and dark humor.” —Tara M. Stringfellow for NBC TODAY
“The collection pulses with beats that follow destruction whether human or natural, with the author's cinematic approach to language that lends itself to scenes that breath and are on full display with dark humor and a no-holds-barred approach to the surreal and familiar — ‘Grief is a national pastime.’” — Mark William Norby, The Bay Area Reporter
“Apocalypse as the shock of trauma and round-the-clock aftershocks. As inextinguishable sexhood. As transgression on the dictionary, sowing it with the embodied experience of the holy ‘I.’ Apocalypse: renaming it Carl. Collaring it with a soundtrack. Handcrafting rituals that sustain us past doomsday. C. Russell Price has written an explicit tour guide, a turquoise spill, an embrace of the flyover. Has forged a towering self. An icon. Has named names. Has seeded the land with toxic honeysuckle. It smells so sweet.” —Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets
“Against complacency or complicity, C. Russell Price offers us doomsday armor in a constellation of longing—an escape route through rage, ritual, soundtrack formed by grief. These are horny poems of damnation, daring us to breathe into all the broken possibilities.” —Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of The Freezer Door
“Gworl, C. Russell Price hasn’t simply made poems, but a Persephonean song cycle (‘I won’t make love without music; I have to keep count’) that shows us hell and names the one who brought us there (‘how well he knew / the way to hurt’). Fine, I’ll call this a book, but it’s also a queer jazz fugue in which Price gathers all the ugly notes to fashion a stunning rendition where they ‘sing / lines [they] never loved / the first go round.’” —Tommye Blount, author of Fantasia for the Man in Blue
“These poems are not here to comfort us, to sand down our splinters, to be ‘all positive self-talk / in a lynching country.’ These poems are here to dance, fuck, dream, rage, witness, call out, and survive. C. Russell Price is a singular poet—a singular, startling, unapologetic, unforgettable voice—and oh, you thought this was a date?! is a book we need now.” —Maggie Smith, author of Goldenrod: Poems
“Once shocked into life, one can never return to innocence. Poems like the ones in Price’s book howl at the moon, rage through the night but stay up to see the sunrise, kiss strangers with liquor-licked lips. How could American poetry have ever survived for so long without such a panamorous panegyric sung so full-throated by such a Pan? Because in the end these poems are not about the ‘apocalypse’ of destruction but in its original classical detonations: ‘unveilings’: a hero released from years of slumber back to his life, a goddess reaving through the skull of tradition to emerge fully grown and ready to rumble, the king of storms revealing his true face and burning the unsuspecting into ashes.” —Kazim Ali, author of The Voice of Sheila Chandra
“If the world is meant to end, a love poem will not save it, and yet, C. Russell Price’s astonishing debut makes me feel otherwise. What will save us if not love? Often my favorite books make me want to write, but Price’s work makes me want to live—eagerly, feverishly, like tomorrow may not come, but I so, so want it to. C. Russell Price’s budding legacy is one of gorgeous prosody, hungry love, fierce empathy, and unfettered hope despite it all—you will know Price by the blue petals left in their wake. You will be better for it.” —Kayleb Rae Candrilli, author of Water I Won’t Touch
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