Vanessa Angélica Villarreal

The beast that therefore I am

Eight recent poetry titles on the beast

“Living within the sacrifice zone, the beast becomes other even to ‘the animal.’” Above: illustration from page 396 of ‘The Marvellous Adventures of Sir John Maundevile’ (1895), via the British Library.

Eight poetry collections published in the past four years turn to the beast as an alternative way of inhabiting the world. This beastly turn has ontological, political, and aesthetic implications for how we theorize the relationship between poetry and personhood (and all of its Enlightenment-era baggage). This review explores both the impetuses and outcomes of these beast-filled encounters but stops short of offering a grand theory of “the beast,” as such a move would undermine the motivating reasons for embodying and embracing beasts as kin.

I have been a made thing & a hunted thing — Cody-Rose Clevidence[1

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