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Seeing the Body: Poems

Seeing the Body: Poems cover

Seeing the Body: Poems

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Nominee for the 2021 NAACP Image Award in Poetry

An elegiac and moving meditation on the ways in which we witness "bodies" of grief and healing.

Poems and photographs collide in this intimate collection, challenging the invisible, indefinable ways mourning takes up residence in a body, both before and after life-altering loss.

In radiant poems—set against the evocative and desperate backdrop of contemporary events, pop culture, and politics—Rachel Eliza Griffiths reckons with her mother’s death, aging, authority, art, black womanhood, memory, and the American imagination. The poems take shape in the space where public and private mourning converge, finding there magic and music alongside brutality and trauma. Griffiths braids a moving narrative of identity and its possibilities for rebirth through image and through loss.

A photographer as well as a poet, Griffiths accompanies the fierce rhythm of her verses with a series of ghostly, imaginative self-portraits, blurring the body’s internal wilderness with landscapes alive with beauty and terror. The collision of text and imagery offers an associative autobiography, in which narratives of language, absence, and presence are at once saved, revised, and often erased. Seeing the Body dismantles personal and public masks of silence and self-destruction to visualize and celebrate the imperfect freedom of radical self-love.

Rachel Eliza Griffiths is the author of four previous collections of poetry, including Lighting the Shadow. Her literary and visual work has appeared in The New Yorker, the New York Times, Paris Review, and many other publications. She lives in New York City.

ISBN: 9781324005667

ISBN-10: 9781324005667

Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company

Publication Date: 06/09/2020 - 12:00am

On Sale: 06/09/2020 - 12:00am

Pages: 144

Language: English

Categories

Poetry / Women Authors

Poetry / American / African American

Poetry / Subjects & Themes / Death, Grief, Loss