Wound from the Mouth of a Wound
“A densely packed treasure trove of verse. Bodies rise up here as sites of gender, trauma, ability, and violence. A gut punch you won’t soon shake off, this is one of 2020’s absolute best releases.” —BUSTLE
Winner of the 2022 Kate Tufts Discovery Award
A New York Times Book Review “New & Noteworthy Poetry Collection”
A Minnesota Book Award Finalist in Poetry
A CLMP Firecracker Award Finalist in Poetry
A Bustle Best Book of 2020
A Refinery29 Best New Book of Fall 2020
An NBC Out “Best LGBTQ Book to Gift This Holiday Season”
A Book Marks “Most Anticipated Poetry Collection of Fall/Winter 2020”
A Lambda “Most Anticipated LGBTQ Book of December 2020”
A Chicago Review of Books “Must-Read Book of December 2020”
“Some girls are not made,” torrin a. greathouse writes, “but spring from the dirt.” Guided by a devastatingly precise hand, Wound from the Mouth of a Wound—selected by Aimee Nezhukumatathil as the winner of the 2020 Ballard Spahr Prize for Poetry—challenges a canon that decides what shades of beauty deserve to live in a poem. greathouse celebrates “buckteeth & ulcer.” She odes the pulp of a bedsore. She argues that the vestigial is not devoid of meaning, and in kinetic and vigorous language, she honors bodies the world too often wants dead.
These poems ache, but they do not surrender. They bleed, but they spit the blood in our eyes. Their imagery pulses on the page, fractal and fluid, blooming in a medley of forms: broken essays, haibun born of erasure, a sonnet meant to be read in the mirror. greathouse’s poetry demands more of language and those who wield it. “I’m still learning not to let a stranger speak / me into a funeral.”
Concrete and evocative, Wound from the Mouth of a Wound is a testament to persistence, even when the body is not allowed to thrive. greathouse—elegant, vicious, “a one-girl armageddon” draped in crushed velvet—teaches us that fragility is not synonymous with flaw.