Written in the aftermath of brain trauma, this astonishing collection takes us through a glittering underworld of illness and recovery, on a confrontational, explosive trip that is at once euphoric and brutal. Through the painful process of rehabilitation and the lingering effects of illness, including a gradual loss of vision, Alex Lemon undergoes a forced metamorphosis that shatters the divide between pain and joy. These poems invoke, proclaim, decry and serenade the world that results after the violation of identity.
From the taste of blood to a glimpse into the opening heavens, the hallucinatory poems of Hallelujah Blackout are an expedition of self made foreign: when the membranes that divide mind and body rupture and the space between them is made, visible, radiant, alien. It is a rapturous reclamation of the body and a mournful ode to what has been lost. Without relying on familiar narratives of despair and pity, this collection serves as a tender hymn to the decay, crimes, and promise of human life.
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Praise and Prizes
“The only thing more remarkable than Alex Lemon’s linguistic muscle is the blood singing up from his gut.”
“‘Sprawling, varied, and ambitious . . . Thoughts of joy and pain, eros and death, not to mention references from Van Gogh to ‘half-scratched lotto tickets’ collide in these unclassifiable, rapid-fire poems. The book’s two long poems—‘Abracadaver’ and the title piece—provide a counterpoint to Alex Lemon’s freewheeling antics: a softer, more stripped-down voice amid the rush ‘in the matchbook of our heads.’”
“A Chaplinesque vaudeville, both mirthful and moving; a pure-gospel shout to the vaulted heavens; a hatful of abracadabras with a wink and a smile: Hallelujah Blackout is a muscular, vibrant book. Painful without being pitying (‘I have little time to let mere ailments worry me’), inventive without being showy, this is an astonishing, masterful collection of poems.”
“Alex Lemon is an unstoppable phenom. He gets so much into a poem: so much world, such rich human voice, and he gets so terrifyingly close to both the self and the overwhelming Everything Else. He does this while making us look at the smallest, loveliest, worst, or plainest details at the oddest moments. Lemon’s art is transformative, staggering, and in the end, compassionate. He’s one of us, letting us know: we’re in trouble but we’re okay.”
“The verses practically shout out their intensity in this electrically charged reading experience.”
“Alex Lemon’s writing is rich with dynamism and intensity that carries its reader on a fast-paced journey through his compilation of striking scenes.”