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Beforelight

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Beforelight

By: Matthew Gellman

Availability: In Stock

Regular price $18.00

About This Title

This title is available for pre-order and will ship on it's publication date: April 2nd 2024.

Beforelight explores queer childhood as a site of rupture and queer coming-of-age as a process of both becoming and unbecoming. With wisdom and grace, the speaker in these poems confronts the impacts of fragmented relationships and trauma on his nascent identity, ultimately committing to the self's authenticity as the highest form of devotion. Lush, cinematic, and deeply psychological, these poems grapple with the fragility of our most formative connections—familial, communal, and ancestral—as the speaker searches for communion with himself and tries to discover how not to “make a life out of pain.”

 

Excerpt from BEFORELIGHT

 

BROTHER WITH RUPTURE

Twin hornets, you and I raced the living room, playing our game of chase

until you tumbled jumping the back of the armchair, your left leg

snapping on the carpet, the ligament swarming with purple, the shin

splitting off from the thigh. The cast was chronic for a season,

jagged rainbows scribbled onto it, affirmations, stick-figure flowers

and the names of the kids in our class at school. The same boys

who would later spit on my cheek and throw me onto the blacktop,

looming, the shadows of hemlocks erasing their steps as they turned

to go. I learned to seek refuge in the tough Pennsylvania field,

yellow weed and spurge, in the bleak apprehension of crows

as they skimmed the pond, not accusing by not kind. You learned 

to recover, dragging your shell of a shin through the den, wringing

your hands, encircled by a tentative light that will always return me

to injury. Hey, you call from a leaf-pile, healed, October

simmering behind you, You bury me first and then you let me bury you. 

 

 

Praise for BEFORELIGHT

“In Beforelight, Matthew Gellman’s astonishing and sensitive début collection, family narratives unfold with the clarity and mystery of a photo album. Illuminating the brutal silences and blanketing snows of the suburbs, Gellman’s poems make the world of memory startlingly intimate and alive.”

— Richie Hofmann, author of A Hundred Lovers


“The poems in Matthew Gellman's Beforelight radiate with tenderness and desire, speaking evocatively from the starless heat of our mouths and from the glowing embers of queer quotidian life. His poetry illuminates the contours of filial, sibling, and sexual bonds revealing at the core of his work a finely wrought portrait of a boy with apertures / yielding more apertures flourishing red and agape.”

— Deborah Paredez, author of Year of the Dog


“I am moved and startled by the intensity of Beforelight, which is bent on retrospection, and profound in its careful examination of the family and the ways we are both beholden to and estranged from them.  These poems also give voice to the necessity of declaring one’s individuality, and in doing so, they combine sophisticated, psychological insight with rich, original musicality.  This is a daring, memorable new voice in American poetry, and a spellbinding debut.” 

— Mark Wunderlich, author of God of Nothingness

 

 

Publication Date: 04/2/2024

ISBN:  978-1-960145-10-9

© BOA Editions, Ltd. 2024

 

 

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