HIV, Mon Amour

HIV, Mon Amour

by Tory Dent
     
 

Tory Dent's is a voice like no other. Her use of language is virtuosic, complex, and plangent. These are daring poems that also dare the reader. HIV positive, Dent writes out of her own experience and profound refusal to look away or suspend feeling or turn from love. When her first book of poems, What Silence Equals, appeared in 1993, it was recognized as

Overview

Tory Dent's is a voice like no other. Her use of language is virtuosic, complex, and plangent. These are daring poems that also dare the reader. HIV positive, Dent writes out of her own experience and profound refusal to look away or suspend feeling or turn from love. When her first book of poems, What Silence Equals, appeared in 1993, it was recognized as "immediately one of the great, necessary books to come out of the AIDS crisis, flinging its challenge in the face of death." With HIV, Mon Amour she moves further into the whirlwind — as witness, lover, and observer.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
In What Silence Equals (1993), Dent took seriously the algebra of the AIDS activist group Act Up's slogan, confronting her HIV+ status and its then seeming death sentence with intellectual clarity and fierce despair. The title's play on the classic Duras novel and art film Hiroshima, Mon Amour prepares the reader at once for Dent's gothic narratives, and for her constant supply of cultural allusions. "Fourteen Days in Quarantine" leads the poet to supersaturate the poem with names: she sees the TB room as a Richard Serra sculpture and herself in her hospital gown as a Nan Goldin portrait; the view of the East River out her window reminds her of film noir; CNN and A&E offer a synthetic version of an interior life, while a shifting array of pharmaceuticals suggest the energetic confusion of the hope they hold out. Making a few escapes from the secure room, the poet comes back to "the gut feeling [I] had always associated with the word `Tory', the specific/ white pine amidst the general landscape." In poems dedicated to Marilyn Hacker, Sharon Olds and Adrienne Rich, among others, Dent reaches for a more obvious pathos. But in "Cinema Verite" she cuts from movie to movie, movingly cribbing material for a speech to her lover who has died in the epidemic. The title sequence contains the most annihilatingly subdued work in the book: "Nothing, not the winter trees reduced to underbrush at this distance nor their moulin-like branches, so baleful, have conspired against you." Chosen by Yusef Komunyakaa for this year's Academy of American Poets Laughlin award, Dent's second book records, unflinchingly, the mind's desperate clingings to life. (Nov.) Copyright 1999 Cahners Business Information.
Library Journal
Stylistically one of the most daring books to be published in recent years, Dent's astonishing cri de coeur is also emotionally one of the most challenging: in detail as harsh, exacting, and whitely lit as the hospital corridors she frequents, Dent details her ongoing battle with HIV. The lines pour out of her wrecklessly, as if she can barely contain herself and the knowledge that this may be her last chance. Indeed, they wind across the page like prose; but no prose is this visceral, this immediate. "When they wheeled me up from ER into respiratory isolation the space radiated/ as if a magnifying glass were put to it under a sunray." The entire book radiates--with unrepressed life. No wonder this won the 1999 James Laughlin Award. Copyright 2000 Cahners Business Information.\

Product Details

ISBN-13:
9781878818812
Publisher:
Sheep Meadow Press, The
Publication date:
12/01/1999
Pages:
103
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.53(d)

What People are saying about this

Sharon Olds
"Tory Dent has gone to a place where we are afraid to go, and come back with a vision, and she sings it . . . She is a true poet, a born truth-teller .. . [her] dazzling and valiant poems are the psalms of our present moment."

Meet the Author

Tory Dent graduated from Barnard College and received an M.A. from NYU. She was a fellow at MacDowell Colony, Yaddo, and Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, and finalist in the Yale Series of Younger Poets, the National Poetry Series, the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry, and the Walt Whitman Award. She has received a New York Foundation for the Arts grant, a Money for Women/Barbara Deming Memorial Fund grant, the Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers Award, and three PEN grants for Writers with AIDS.

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