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Kingdom Animalia

Overview

The poems in this highly anticipated second book are elegiac poems, as concerned with honoring our dead as they are with praising the living. Through Aracelis Girmay's lens, everything is animal: the sea, a jukebox, the desert. In these poems, everything possesses a system of desire, hunger, a set of teeth, and language. These are poems about what is both difficult and beautiful about our time here on earth.

Aracelis Girmay's debut collection won the Great Lakes Colleges ...

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Kingdom Animalia

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Overview

The poems in this highly anticipated second book are elegiac poems, as concerned with honoring our dead as they are with praising the living. Through Aracelis Girmay's lens, everything is animal: the sea, a jukebox, the desert. In these poems, everything possesses a system of desire, hunger, a set of teeth, and language. These are poems about what is both difficult and beautiful about our time here on earth.

Aracelis Girmay's debut collection won the Great Lakes Colleges Association New Writers Award. A Cave Canem Fellow, she is on the faculty at Drew University and Hampshire College. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
Girmay’s poem “Arroz Poetica,” from her 2007 collection Teeth (2007), continues to catalyze antiwar sentiment. This six-part book of verse ends with a short “Ars Poetica”—“May the poems be/ the snail’s trail.// Everywhere I go,/ every inch: quiet record// of the foot’s silver prayer./I lived once./ Thank you./ It was here”—that points up its simultaneous strengths and limitations. On the one hand, there’s nothing as clear and timely as “Arroz” here; it’s almost as if Girmay needed an entire book to write past it and back into a voice that can reflect her own life. On the other, the “foot’s silver prayer” of the “Ars” seems, in this collection, to take in a great deal of America and its global history. Girmay has Eritrean, Puerto Rican, and African-American roots; the section titled “a book of erased cities” brings a poignant, multifaceted sense of loss to poems like “Mississippi Burial, On the Ferry to Algiers”: “it is possible to wear your ghosts like a face,/ which is to say, my face has been here before.” So while there’s nothing as immediately gripping and galvanizing here, the book’s “snail’s trail” offers plenty for the patient. (Oct.)
From the Publisher

"Girmay has Eritrean, Puerto Rican, and African-American roots; the section titled 'a book of erased cities' brings a poignant, multifaceted sense of loss…" — Publishers Weekly

“There is a saying in Spanish, ‘Cada cabeza es un mundo,’ which translates ‘every mind is a universe unto itself.’ And Girmay’s world, universe, opens new ways of seeing the simplest things and giving them voice. Everything contains some clue of another self, body or kindred spirit. Like an archaeologist, she digs deeply finding herself in every living thing, even in the inanimate. Her magic is poetry at its best.”—National Book Critics Circle

“A cunning consideration of mortality, humanity, and the responsibility of the voice that bears witnesses...” -Los Angeles Review

“Vibrant, so much of everything I want to see everywhere: color and joy and snap.” -Holly Wendt, blogger

Elizabeth Lund
Kingdom Animalia…has a wonderfully fresh voice and approach…[it] does a beautiful job of balancing archetypal concerns with a contemporary perspective. The book also shows that while life may be fragile and fleeting, the human heart can continue beating despite abuse, injustices and war.
—The Washington Post
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781934414620
  • Publisher: BOA Editions, Ltd.
  • Publication date: 9/20/2011
  • Series: American Poets Continuum
  • Pages: 120
  • Sales rank: 498,162
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 8.90 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author


Aracelis Girmay: Aracelis Girmay's debut poetry collection, Teeth, was published by Curbstone Press and was awarded the GLCA New Writers Award. Her poems have, most recently, been published in Black Renaissance Noir, Gulf Coast, A Public Space, & Callaloo, among other journals.

A Cave Canem Fellow, she has received grants from the Jerome Foundation and the Watson Foundation. She is this year’s recipient of the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award and was recently awarded a literature fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts.

Girmay is an Acentos Foundation board member and a contributing editor for The Massachusetts Review. She also writes, occasionally, for ELEM magazine, a lifestyle and arts magazine dedicated to the concerns and interests of the Eritrean community (in Eritrea and the diaspora).

For the past nine years, Girmay has taught community writing workshops in her native California and in New York. She received her MFA from NYU in 2003 and is now on the faculty of both Drew University’s low-residency Poetry MFA program and Hampshire College’s School of Interdisciplinary Arts.

Girmay grew up in Santa Ana, California and currently lives in New York.

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