Brute: Poems

Brute: Poems

Selected by Joy Harjo as the winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American PoetsEmily Skaja's debut collection is a fiery, hypnotic book that confronts the dark questions and menacing silences around gender, sexuality, and violence. Brute arises, brave and furious, from the dissolution of a relationship, showing how such endings necessitate self-discovery and...

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Title:Brute: Poems
Author:Emily Skaja
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Edition Language:English

Brute: Poems Reviews

  • Alex

    Skaja's poems burn brutal and drag themselves through the anguish of loss and betrayal. It's a ferocious collection that holds simultaneously the vulnerability and desperation of a break-up alongside the untethered rage of coming to terms with the tangle of gendered violence and sexuality. Her images are gut-punchingly visceral. I'm excited to follow this new voice in poetry.

  • Caroline

    4.75 stars

    This was one of my most anticipated poetry books for 2019, and it did not disappoint. Perhaps most impressive is the cohesiveness of the collection, and its structure. It's a pet peeve of mine when poetry collections are broken up into sections that have no rhyme or reason, but here the section demarcations feel purposeful. Also, A+ choice of epigraphs for the section titles! I appreciated the frequent use of repetition, not just within individual poems but throughout the collection: t

    4.75 stars

    This was one of my most anticipated poetry books for 2019, and it did not disappoint. Perhaps most impressive is the cohesiveness of the collection, and its structure. It's a pet peeve of mine when poetry collections are broken up into sections that have no rhyme or reason, but here the section demarcations feel purposeful. Also, A+ choice of epigraphs for the section titles! I appreciated the frequent use of repetition, not just within individual poems but throughout the collection: the use of "brute" in different ways; the multiple elegy, letter, and aubade poems; and Greek references. There's a sense of momentum and full immersion into the speaker's world.

    Skaja writes about well-tread subjects but frankly does them better than most. For example, this collection has one of the best break-up poems I've ever read ("In Defeat I Was Perfect"), and it hit me like a brick wall.

    I recommend this collection to anyone, honestly, but especially to women who have felt the impotent rage of being gaslit, betrayed, or otherwise hurt by gendered violence. Skaja's poems made me feel both seen and empowered with their tenderness and unflinching observation. I can tell this collection will be even more rewarding upon re-reading.

  • Clair

    I wouldn't stop talking about how I needed this book after reading "Aubade with attention to pathos" in the Adroit Journal, and I was not disappointed by the rest of the poems. Yes, this is a brutal book to read - but it is also captivating. Skaja's moments of humor amidst the pain in these poems are profoundly well done. The arc of this collection is impeccable. I really have nothing but good things to say about this book, and it's one I desperately needed.

  • Jonathan

    Easily one of the best poetry collections I’ve read in awhile that was of a non political theme

  • Jenny (Reading Envy)

    This powerful debut collection deserves multiple readings and I've read most of them out loud as well. The end of an unhealthy relationship comes with damage and these poems reflect all of it. Some reposition the narrative to defend the person who finally got out, some are confrontational, some speak to the shared experience many women have. When I marked favorites to share it was practically every poem but my two top poems are probably "Brute / Brute Heart" (read in

    ) and "No

    This powerful debut collection deserves multiple readings and I've read most of them out loud as well. The end of an unhealthy relationship comes with damage and these poems reflect all of it. Some reposition the narrative to defend the person who finally got out, some are confrontational, some speak to the shared experience many women have. When I marked favorites to share it was practically every poem but my two top poems are probably "Brute / Brute Heart" (read in

    ) and "No, I Do Not Want to Connect with You on LinkedIn" (also

    .)

    This past year has been my first subscribed to the Graywolf Galley Club, and they sent this debut collection as a gift for a debut donor. Neat idea and I'm glad this is the collection they chose.

  • Roxane

    The poems in Emily Skaja’s Brute speak of brutality, of breaking, of endings, of beginnings. Brute is an elegy for a relationship’s end, an intimate excavation, but also, these poems are a rhapsody, a rage. Skaja’s poetry is deft, nimble, willing to inhabit contradictions— What is this impulse in me to worship & crucify/anyone who leaves me… Each poem is exquisitely crafted, visceral, indelible. Brute will cut right through you, cut deep, but the writing is so assured, so necessary that you

    The poems in Emily Skaja’s Brute speak of brutality, of breaking, of endings, of beginnings. Brute is an elegy for a relationship’s end, an intimate excavation, but also, these poems are a rhapsody, a rage. Skaja’s poetry is deft, nimble, willing to inhabit contradictions— What is this impulse in me to worship & crucify/anyone who leaves me… Each poem is exquisitely crafted, visceral, indelible. Brute will cut right through you, cut deep, but the writing is so assured, so necessary that you will welcome the wound.

  • icarranna

    I would have given this 3.5 stars but I gave it the benefit of 4 because of the writing. The writing was exquisite and well-crafted. Having grown up in the Midwest near where the poet is from, I loved the references to places, animals, and nature that have surrounded me my entire life.

    What I wished for this book were themes that reached a little deeper. Many of the poems were around a breakup, loss, violence in a relationship, coming to terms with being alone. I have read those themes, over and

    I would have given this 3.5 stars but I gave it the benefit of 4 because of the writing. The writing was exquisite and well-crafted. Having grown up in the Midwest near where the poet is from, I loved the references to places, animals, and nature that have surrounded me my entire life.

    What I wished for this book were themes that reached a little deeper. Many of the poems were around a breakup, loss, violence in a relationship, coming to terms with being alone. I have read those themes, over and over, in poetry. So while the writing was captivating, the over-arching story that threaded through the poems felt like it had been "done before."

  • Philip Kenner

    Emily Skaja’s poems are lyrical, visceral, angry, funny, and full of fluid. The personal weaves in-between the dark pastoral. Skaja’s proverbial river soaks into every page, leaving the reader with the feeling of being cleansed with mud, made dirty and clean all at once.

    Skaja repeats images and motifs (blood, human to bird metamorphosis, mud), and while the cohesive nature of the book as a whole is something to be celebrated, the poems can feel like they repeat themselves a little too often. Ov

    Emily Skaja’s poems are lyrical, visceral, angry, funny, and full of fluid. The personal weaves in-between the dark pastoral. Skaja’s proverbial river soaks into every page, leaving the reader with the feeling of being cleansed with mud, made dirty and clean all at once.

    Skaja repeats images and motifs (blood, human to bird metamorphosis, mud), and while the cohesive nature of the book as a whole is something to be celebrated, the poems can feel like they repeat themselves a little too often. Overall, this debut is remarkable and gnarly.

  • Patti K

    The 2019 winner of the Walt Whitman Award as selected

    by the judge Joy Harjo. These poems are all about a relationship

    ending full of pain and grief. But they are not another hum-drum

    treatment. The poems are wild and raw with curious and gritty metaphors

    that nearly scream from the page. A taut experience. Near the end, they

    can start to feel repetitive, but overall, a fierce and fresh debut.

  • Chris Roberts

    The Before Divorce

    An archaic symbol passes for love,

    fractious voices rise up and deny this

    and those literally adored to the edge of madness still believe.

    The After Divorce

    Leave this world, my love,

    bedlam devotion, slice-to-the-bone-motion,

    bleed out...lovely and silken...a prostrate sculpture.

    #poem

    Chris Roberts, God Incremental

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