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
Rating:
Edition Language:English

Brute: Poems Reviews

  • 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.

  • 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.

  • Amalia Gavea

    A striking front cover depiction Gleipnir and Fenrir by Walton Ford is a telling dark introduction to this poetry collection by Emily Skaja, the winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets.

    A woman acquires multiple identities to overcome the pain of a broken relationship. She leaves the lover role behind and becomes a warrior and a witch, set to overcome violence, treason, expectations. Sh

    A striking front cover depiction Gleipnir and Fenrir by Walton Ford is a telling dark introduction to this poetry collection by Emily Skaja, the winner of the Walt Whitman Award of the Academy of American Poets.

    A woman acquires multiple identities to overcome the pain of a broken relationship. She leaves the lover role behind and becomes a warrior and a witch, set to overcome violence, treason, expectations. She has to transform herself, to resist the vultures and the crows, the reminders of sexuality and death. Sleep paralysis, open wounds, cries, and silence.

    My reviews can also be found on

  • DANA L

    I am writing about this book as a debut collection for my publishing class and feel like it found me somehow. The ineffable experience of the legitimate grief of a relationship is encapsulated by this beautiful collection. Walk in and wade out, it will leave you both feeling seen and cleansed.

  • Jon(athan) Nakapalau

    A garden of pain lit by blue moon - beautiful wounding.

  • 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.

  • David

    Everyone really should be on the lookout for Emily Skaja’s debut collection of poetry,

    . Skaja ruminates on gender and violence, self-discovery and self-reinvention, agency and survival as she rises out of a tumultuous relationship. It’s Adele’s

    in poetry form, and it’s just as emotionally satisfying as that album. She works through some tough shit and asks us to see this Brute in all of its forms. And as she works through her emotions, we see how debilitating it can be; but we also see

    Everyone really should be on the lookout for Emily Skaja’s debut collection of poetry,

    . Skaja ruminates on gender and violence, self-discovery and self-reinvention, agency and survival as she rises out of a tumultuous relationship. It’s Adele’s

    in poetry form, and it’s just as emotionally satisfying as that album. She works through some tough shit and asks us to see this Brute in all of its forms. And as she works through her emotions, we see how debilitating it can be; but we also see how it’s not all-powerful and that she, and we, can overcome. Skaja won the Walt Whitman Award with this collection and it’s much deserved. I wholeheartedly recommend.

  • Lexi Nylander

    My favorites were How to Mend a Faucet Dripping Thread, No, I Do Not Want to Connect with You on LinkedIn, and Aubade with Attention to Pathos, particularly the bit about giving permission to be hurt at every stage.

    "I was learning how some of us are made to be carrion birds & some of us are made to be circled."

    "Tell her on my honor, I will set the wedding dress on fire when I'm good & ready or she can bury me in it."

    "I think I can love someone who cares enough to bruise for me."

    "I think

    My favorites were How to Mend a Faucet Dripping Thread, No, I Do Not Want to Connect with You on LinkedIn, and Aubade with Attention to Pathos, particularly the bit about giving permission to be hurt at every stage.

    "I was learning how some of us are made to be carrion birds & some of us are made to be circled."

    "Tell her on my honor, I will set the wedding dress on fire when I'm good & ready or she can bury me in it."

    "I think I can love someone who cares enough to bruise for me."

    "I think you were the first person to say Cassiopeia to me."

    "Raised as I was near a cemetery, I always assume some authority over the departed."

    "Every morning, a spider webs over my door, but I don't do omens. I refuse to weave. I am not Penelope."

    "From the bathtub I will drunk-direct an orchestra of boring nebulae. Leading the scales major-minor minor-minor."

    "Thank you for doubting me so I swung hard."

    "I have kept the moon on all night in my own way, by listening, by not forgetting it is there. Small witchery."

    "The moon knew me. It took my side. Duh, I thought & I gave you the finger."

  • Carolyn

    Not all the poems in

    spoke to me, but when they did, it was with a fierceness that made me shiver. This is a collection of poetry that demands your respect and attention when reading. It's sharp, brutal, and emotional. If you're not careful, you may cut yourself on the edge of one of these selections.

    Some poems leave you cold and sad while others are furious fire. The collection was violence and love lying side by side. It was the before, during, and after of a cruel, manipulative relatio

    Not all the poems in

    spoke to me, but when they did, it was with a fierceness that made me shiver. This is a collection of poetry that demands your respect and attention when reading. It's sharp, brutal, and emotional. If you're not careful, you may cut yourself on the edge of one of these selections.

    Some poems leave you cold and sad while others are furious fire. The collection was violence and love lying side by side. It was the before, during, and after of a cruel, manipulative relationship, break up, and then dealing with the aftermath. The beauty of natural life and unnatural death. The attention to the nature made this a step above for me; when the narrator is overcome, she returns to the wilderness, to the lake, the forest, and the fresh air.

    I recommend

    for poetry lovers, feminists, and those going through abusive relationships and devastating break ups. Skaja's work reads like a battle cry and a dirge, never a lullaby.

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