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My God Is This a Man

Laura Sims

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"Laura Sims is a startlingly original poet whose work goes very deep, like a well made of animal and human bones mortared together with rubber tires, dismembered books, dismembered dolls, and a lot of other unlikely stuff that draws water from thousands of feet under the surface of the earth."--Peter Straub

"I don't know the exact method or intent behind the poems of Laura Sims's My god is this a man, but I know how they feel: harrowing, probing, troubling, surprising, and often gorgeous. It's as if Stein and Dickinson had been invited to converse about the effects of serial murder on body, soul, and mind: a strange wonder. The phenomenological and moral turbulence of these poems is matched by their sonic and structural grace, making Sims's book a profound offering to ongoing, important conversations about the nexus of aesthetics, violence, representation, and empathy."
--Maggie Nelson

"In this minimalist account of the language of killers, Laura Sims creates disturbingly powerful chords of empathy. Reading, we discover ourselves inside the one who begs, "For heaven's / sake catch me /before I kill more." Like a photographic negative the book shows only the barest lines of its subjects, but in so doing reveals more, and more hauntingly, than full exposure ever can. We don't want to turn the page, and we do. Looking away is not an option, because we are seduced."--Julie Carr

Laura Sims's third poetry collection engages the escarpment of the page itself: walled-off phrases set against spare lines on largely empty pages, a proto-graphical representation of thought itself. These poems replicate the psychic fragmentation that's necessary for evil-doing: relationship as crime scene, the folk ballad re-writ for our new cult of mass-shootings, "the quiet and unmeaning" of a natural world wrought horrific . . .

From "MURDER SON(G)":

Walk into a pep rally with guns.

Walk into a Costco with guns. Walk into a coffee shop with guns. Walk into a party store with guns. Walk into a wedding shower with guns. Walk into a weight room with guns. Walk into a living room with guns and say

All I want is something small.

Laura Sims is the author of Stranger and Practice, Restraint, both from Fence Books, and of Fare Forward: Letters with David Markson (Powerhouse Books). She co-edits Instance Press and teaches literature and creative writing in New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies. She lives with her family in Brooklyn, New York.


Fence Books, 9781934200735, 88pp.

Publication Date: June 10, 2014



About the Author

Laura Sims is the author of three books of poems: My god is this a man (forthcoming, Fence Books, 2013), Stranger (Fence Books, 2009), and Practice, Restraint, (winner of the 2005 Fence Books Alberta Prize), and of five chapbooks, including POST- (Goodmorning Menagerie, 2012). She has been a recipient of the Japan-US Friendship Commission's Creative Artists Residency, and is a co-editor of Instance Press. She teaches literature and creative writing, and lives in Brooklyn with her husband and son.