Animal Purpose (Paperback)

Poems (Hollis Summers Poetry Prize)

By Michelle Y. Burke

Ohio University Press, 9780821421987, 88pp.

Publication Date: April 1, 2016



In Animal Purpose, Michelle Y. Burke explores the lives of men and women as they stand poised between the desire to love and the compulsion to harm. In one poem, a woman teaches a farmhand the proper way to slaughter a truckload of chickens. In another, a couple confronts the recent loss of a loved one when a stranger makes an unexpected confession in a crowded restaurant. Set in both rural and urban spaces, these poems challenge received ideas about work, gender, and place. Danger blurs into beauty and back again. Burke scours the hard edges of the world to find "fleeting softness," which she wishes "into the world like pollen that covers everything.

About the Author

Born in rural Pennsylvania, Michelle Y. Burke earned a BA in creative writing from Loyola University Maryland, an MFA in poetry from the Ohio State University, and a PhD in English from the University of Cincinnati. She is also the author of Horse Loquela, winner of the Red Mountain Review Chapbook Series Award. She lives in Brooklyn with her husband, the writer Douglas Watson, and their daughter.