Inseminating the Elephant

Inseminating the Elephant

by Lucia Perillo

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An unflinching and gritty book from MacArthur Fellow and winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award.


An unflinching and gritty book from MacArthur Fellow and winner of the Kingsley Tufts Award.

Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly

Perillo is poet who aggressively, unflinchingly and humorously takes it all in; her poems here feature an ode to Motorola, a fat junkie, a bra fitting and Plath's hair, not to mention the act described in the title poem. She is not afraid of beginning a poem with a list of great men who all "had a woman and child/ they needed to ditch," and then comparing the way the universe regards everyone to the way those great men regarded their children. She avoids sentimentality while confronting the rebellions of her own body, which landed her in a wheelchair: "She rolls up/ to watch me board, as people do,/ because it is interesting/ to see the wheelchair maneuvered backward/ into the van." She manages to write a surprising poem about Viagra, with Niagara Falls' "silver surge" as its central image. Perillo is never uninteresting. In the title poem, her chutzpah and roving eye blend perfectly, demonstrating in fairly intricate detail how a German zoologist's preparation and approach toward an elephant's "vestibule" compares to the reader approaching the speaker's own inner life, her "seed-pearl" and "opalescent sorrow." (Apr.)

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Product Details

Copper Canyon Press
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Product dimensions:
7.00(w) x 9.60(h) x 0.80(d)

Meet the Author

Lucia Perillo: Lucia Perillo graduated from McGill University in Montreal in 1979 with a major in wildlife management, and subsequently worked for the US Fish and Wildlife Service. She completed her MA in English at Syracuse University, and has published five books of poetry. She was a MacArthur Fellow in 2000 and finalist for the Pulitzer Prize in 2009. She lives in Olympia, Washington.

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