Winner of the AWP 2017 Donald Hall Prize for Poetry
In ancient fertility carvings, artists would drill holes into the woman’s body to signify penetrability, which is the basis of Autobiography of a Wound: allowing those wounds and puncture marks to speak through the fertility figures. The wounds are chronicled through letters and poems addressed to F (F stands for the fertility carvings themselves, which are being addressed as one unified deity), and A (Aphrodite, who is being referenced as a general deity of womanhood, a figurine that reappears throughout the poems, and a symbol that is referenced or portrayed in almost every fertility figurine or carving). Autobiography of a Wound reconstructs the narrative surrounding female pathos and the idea of the hysteric girl.
About the Author
Brynne Rebele-Henry has published poetry, fiction, and nonfiction in such journals as American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Prairie Schooner, Fiction International, Rookie, and So to Speak. She has won numerous awards for her writing, including the 2016 Adroit Prize for Prose, the 2015 Louise Louis/Emily F. Bourne Award, and a 2017 Glenna Luschei Award.
Read an Excerpt
Excerpt from “Portrait of a female figure with puncture marks & frayed rope” Because a man is taught that his anger is A: a god B: a burning house, a burning church, a girl with a phone cord wrapped around her neck, broken capillaries like swarmed fish Dear man: Once I would call a kiss a bruise because they all bruised me with them, girls biting into me until I was nothing, until my veins shifted under their teeth, until the breath knocked out of me and I sat there dumb and dead at 15
Table of ContentsContents Scarab with device of kneeling fertility figure before obelisk Portrait of a female figure with puncture marks & frayed rope Self-portrait as a woman with a bullet wound Self-portrait as a girl made out of stone Self-portrait as a broken Venus statuette Definition of Girl Definition of a Fist Definition of Basalt Definition of Bleeding Definition of a Broken Wrist Aubade for a dying girl Aubade for a wound Aubade for a marble child Self-portrait with needles & a broken mouth Self-portrait as a wound Female fertility figure, bone, carved, B.C. Portrait as yourself Portrait as a menstruating figure Portrait as a dying man Portrait as a bleeding woman Self-portrait as the boys who died & the girls who were turned to bones Picture of F, myself & a lake town Picture of three girls, a white house & F Picture of the lost children & the first menstruation Self-portrait as the lake in which they were drowned Self-portrait as a girl without a body Self-portrait as a fertility figure Self-portrait as a drowning city Figure of Isis/Aphrodite Self-portrait as split-open lips, a gun & a cornfield at night Self-portrait as a wound, a bird skull & a stone The brief life of a marble woman The brief life of a wound The brief life of a girl The brief life of a stone figure The death of S, Aphrodite & the kneeling basilisk The carving of S/Aphrodite & F Marble female figure The pathos of fertility, 1921, Germany Standing female figure wearing a strap & a necklace Figure of fertility goddess (2700 B.C.) Figure of fertility goddess (2000 B.C.) Plaque with nude female in a shrine niche Terracotta statuette of a nude woman Head of a woman, 220 B.C. Kneeling female deity The history of bones The history of violence Self-biography as a hole Self-biography as a Venus Self-biography as a false saint Self-biography as a pregnant woman Self-biography as a girl with no mouth Autobiography of a Venus figure Autobiography of something fertile Autobiography of basalt & broken stones Autobiography of a wound Notes and Acknowledgments