by Rebecca Dunham


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“The poems of Rebecca Dunham’s Strike invoke the terse, noiseless monstrousness of the toxic-domestic, the ‘once-us,’ in which ‘to fall numb is not to fall/out of pain.’ This collection is Plathian in its riven depiction of anger, which both ‘presses/down and in,’ where denial ‘is beaten to silver foil, to silver leaf,’ and in which ‘[o]ver the butcher/paper’s sheets’ her ‘red story sprawls.’ In poems whose edges are honed on a whetstone of impeccable craft, and which delve into history, archetype, and ekphrasis, Dunham exposes the face that ‘ripples beneath her mask’ and builds a ravishing myth of the unveiled lyric interior.” —Diane Seuss
“In Rebecca Dunham’s gorgeous new book there are secrets, shames, and a fury that bites like frost. Strike reminds me that ‘fidelity / demands not only virtue’s deep mortal stab, / but the love of it’; that anger burns clean; that forgiveness can burden the one who was hurt, asking them to console the one who made them suffer. Dunham brings to light a rage that has felt unutterable to me for so long, as well as the lineage of women who know betrayal’s slow burning. When you read this stunning book, you can’t fail to feel these poems strike you as well, how even after you set it down, you can still feel the scorch of it.” —Traci Brimhall
“D.T. Suzuki describes the start of a bad poem as one that ‘does not fly straight to the target, nor does the target stand where it is…’ Rebecca Dunham’s Strike is a campaign of targets all hit, dead-center, by furiously composed poems—arrows that cannot miss. Whether real life fortifies her aim, or pure imagination, or the progeny of both, the reader need not know. What matters is that this writer is on fire—and for sharing her archery, her heartache, and her hunger for catharsis, we thank her, as this is poetry that confirms the weirdly compatible damnation and grace of language used to expunge and expose and exalt. ‘Heap of tortured hairpins/at my feet…,’ Strike hurts, and thereby saves.” —Larissa Szporluk

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781936970605
Publisher: New Issues Poetry and Prose
Publication date: 04/15/2019
Pages: 70
Product dimensions: (w) x (h) x 0.30(d)

Table of Contents

White Flag 3

I Mrs.

Whetstone 7

Anger, According to Mrs. 9

The Wedding Processional, as Sung by Mrs. 10

The Wedding at Cana 11

Incarnadine 13

The Visitation 14

Gaslighting 15

The Kept 16

Forgiveness 17

II A Narrative of the Captivity and Restoration of Mrs.

If tempted to go home 21

Black creatures in the night 22

The house on fire over our heads 23

Morning, I must turn my back upon 24

This was the comfort I had 25

III The Impossible Bed

Impossible Object 29

Ambien Nights 32

Three Soliloquies, as Performed by Mrs. 33

Woman in Glass 36

The Interlocutor 37

In the Bedroom 38

Tensile 39

Capillary Action 40

IV Tableaux Vivants

The Living Room 45

The Backyard 46

The Driveway 47

V The Year I Turned Old

Elegy Written in Neon Lights 51

In Retrograde 52

Mrs.: A Lexicon 54

Fragments for my Father 55

Time and Tide 62

Elegy and Aubade 63

Forgiveness 64

The Year I Turned Old 65

The Fall of Manna 66

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