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ebook / ISBN-13: 9781472155221

Price: £10.99

ON SALE: 3rd October 2019

Genre: Literature & Literary Studies / Poetry

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Selected by Joy Harjo as the winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets

‘Taut, ferocious . . . This is a book about survival, and a welcome, confident debut’ New York Times Book Review

Emily Skaja’s debut collection is a fiery, hypnotic book that confronts the dark questions and menacing silences around gender, sexuality and violence. Brute arises, brave and furious, from the dissolution of a relationship, showing how such endings necessitate self-discovery and reinvention. The speaker of these poems is a sorceress, a bride, a warrior, a lover, both object and agent, ricocheting among ways of knowing and being known. Each incarnation squares itself up against ideas of feminine virtue and sin, strength and vulnerability, love and rage, as it closes in on a hard-won freedom.

Brute is absolutely sure of its capacity to insist not only on the truth of what it says but on the truth of its right to say it. ‘What am I supposed to say: I’m free?’ the first poem asks. The rest of the poems emphatically discover new ways to answer. This is a timely winner of the Walt Whitman Award, and an introduction to an unforgettable voice.

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Brute, though a collection of singular poems, is essentially one long, elegiac howl for the end of a relationship. It never lets up - this living - even when the world as we knew it is crushed. So what do we do with the brokenness? We document it, as Emily Skaja has done in Brute
Joy Harjo, judge's citation for the Walt Whitman Award
Emily Skaja's [Brute] is lyrical, visceral, sharp like a fang, and filled witJh lines that pierce and prod and stay embedded inside your skin
Brute is an unflinching exploration of gender, violence, and recovery . . . Within the pain of Skaja's poetry is an unrelenting force, a brutish will to survive that bursts forth with every stanza, announcing her resilience
Paris Review
Skaja's poems are both primal scream-songs and elegies to the end of a relationship . . . With relentless, driving energy, Skaja's poems seek brutal truths while searching for meaningful transformation
[In Brute], the anguish comes from an emotionally abusive lover and the abrupt end of a relationship. As the speaker excavates her grief and disbelief, she slowly moves from self-condemnation to a fiery insistence that she can overcome her boyfriend's damaging assessments of her worth and reclaim the power she once had . . . The speaker's brutal honesty and emotional transformation offer an engrossing guide for anyone dealing with a devastating loss
The Washington Post
The poems in Emily Skaja's Brute speak of brutality, of breaking, of endings, of beginnings. Brute is an elegy for a relationship's end, an intimate excavation, but also, these poems are a rhapsody, a rage. Skaja's poetry is deft, nimble, willing to inhabit contradictions?'What is this impulse in me to worship & crucify / anyone who leaves me.' Each poem is exquisitely crafted, visceral, indelible. Brute will cut right through you, cut deep, but the writing is so assured, so necessary, that you will welcome the wound
Roxane Gay