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a slice from the cake made of air

a slice from the cake made of air

by Lillian-Yvonne Bertram


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a slice from the cake made of air processes the physical and mental trauma of abortion coupled with the desires for sexual and emotional love against a backdrop of contemporary culture with all the sexualization that comes with race, gender, and landscape. From front to back the book is wound through with a single poem whose language is permuted, translated, and retranslated (from English to English) as it cycles around abortion, both asking what artifact / do I resemble and stating small love / small / you failed it / in person. The poems directly confront the sexual self ( This isn t a real orgasm, a real patellar fatigue ) and take up the thesis abstract as a malleable form for interrogating the inevitable intersections and overlaps of brains and bodies. Sexy and volatile, a slice from the cake made of air winds over and through itself, with no conclusions or solutions for the mess of living in the world."

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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781597093415
Publisher: Red Hen Press
Publication date: 04/21/2016
Edition description: 1
Pages: 88
Sales rank: 849,490
Product dimensions: 6.80(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.30(d)

About the Author

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram is a 2014 recipient of a National Endowment for the Arts Creative Writing Poetry Fellowship. Her first book, But a Storm is Blowing From Paradise, was selected by Claudia Rankine as the 2010 Benjamin Saltman Award winner and published by Red Hen Press in 2012. Her chapbook, cutthroat glamours, was published by Phantom Books in 2013. Her works have appeared in Black Warrior Review, Callaloo, Cream City Review, Court Green, DIAGRAM, Gulf Coast, Harvard Review, Indiana Review, jubilat, Mid-American Review, Narrative Magazine, OH NO, Saltfront, Subtropics, Sou’wester, Tupelo Quarterly, and more. She holds a PhD in creative writing from the University of Utah.

Table of Contents


Sometimes I ask to be bound 15


Clinical Therapy 21

Activation Energy 23

Dialogical Repose in Which I am the Magician's Most Trusted Girl, 24

The Organism Is Escaping 26


After the very respects 29


A Future of Glamour Unlike Any Previous Past 35

Strip District Eclogue 36

I will not sad-song the loss of solution 37

Algorithm 39

Cruelty Is Not What One Believes it to Be 40


How many turnabout 43

Personal Science Tracing as a Bear in the Lake on the Sun 50


We understand adornment 53


True Self Model in which the Mind Is a Container 59

Pastiche Eclogue 60

Hungry Like Red 61

Illusion Is the Medium which Allows Emptiness to Become Something Special 62


I Practice 65


New Scatology at a Crossroads 71

In the white world, 72

A Village Life 73

Dream City Eclogue 74

Animals Do Not Commit Delusional Acts 75


at intervals never when the moon is blue

I buzz to be trim SC trussed 79

Notes 85

What People are Saying About This

From the Publisher

“Speaking from ‘where the lasso lashing/ cuts the fig leaf,’ Lillian-Yvonne Bertram considers flesh, considers life, considers loving, considers the cock, and considers ‘the scissoring scheme.’ She asks ‘of what erase/ do I remind myself.’ She asks ‘is heaven colored.’ She asks ‘is heaven without being able.’ And Bertram asks without the question mark—because she doesn’t need, or want, or anticipate, or believe in any answer we might give: she lives, brilliantly, with whole heart, whole mind, and whole body, in the contradictions. In the complexity. In the neverending paradox of a life. She shows us, let’s say, that Illusion is the Medium Which Allows Emptiness to Become Something Special, and I love this book beyond loving.”

—Sarah Vap

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