Natalie J. Graham

Poems that consider body a site of revelation, this collection of poems begins rooted in the landscape of the U.S. South as it voices singular lives carved out of immediate and historical trauma. While these poems dwell in the body, often meditating on its frailty and desire, they also question the weight that literary, historical, and religious icons are expected to bear and the shadows they cast. The vast scope of the poems arcs from a pig farmer's funeral to the paintings of Georges de la Tour and Toni Morrison's Beloved. With an ear tuned to the lift and lilt of speech, they wring song from sorrow and plant in every dirge a seed of jubilation. Rich in clarity and decisive in her attention to image, Natalie J. Graham writes resonant, lush poetry. Begin with a Failed Body was chosen by Kwame Dawes for the 2016 Cave Canem Poetry Prize.