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In language that is dynamic, powerful, and delicate, Anodyne brilliantly maps the self across time, across landscape, across love.
The poems that make up Anodyne consider the small moments that enrapture us alongside the daily threats of cataclysm. Formally dynamic and searingly personal, Anodyne asks us to recognize the echoes of history that litter the landscape of our bodies as we navigate a complex terrain of survival and longing. With an intimate and multivocal dexterity, these poems acknowledge the simultaneous existence of joy and devastation, knowledge and ignorance, grief and love, endurance and failure—all of the contrast and serendipity that comes with the experience of being human. If the body is a world, or a metaphor for the world, for what disappears and what remains, for what we feel and what we cover up, then how do we balance fate and choice, pleasure and pain?
Through a combination of formal lyrics, delicate experiments, sharp rants, musical litany, and moments of wit that uplift and unsettle, Queen’s poems show us the terrible consequences and stunning miracles of how we choose to live.
About the Author:
Khadijah Queen is the author of Conduit, Black Peculiar, Fearful Beloved, Non-Sequitur, and I'm So Fine: A List of Famous Men & What I Had On. A finalist for the National Poetry Series, the Balcones Poetry Prize, and the CLMP Firecracker award in Fiction, she is an assistant professor of creative writing at University of Colorado at Boulder, and serves as core faculty for the low-residency Mile-High MFA program at Regis University.
“I recommend this book to anyone who ever had a child or a parent, who ever had a body or loved, to anyone who was ever sick or tried to sleep a good night's sleep, and failed, and tried again. . . . This is a powerful and dazzling collection, filled with wisdom and experience. Anyone who reads Anodyne will remember it for a long time.” - Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic
“Khadijah Queen’s poems are fire and sacred song. From heart-stopping familial narratives—a son awash in sadness, an aging mother’s boulder-smiting love, a brother turned to dust by a bullet—to formal inventiveness and experimentation, this is writing that makes the hardship of being alive transcendent. These poems swirl the pain of our lives with a neon kind of sweetness. Queen’s writing endures the revolt of the body with verbal play and a powerful, radical vulnerability. Anodyne is urgent and fragile, manifesting the beautiful danger in being alive.” - Alex Lemon, author of Another Last Day and Feverland: A Memoir in Shards
“Anodyne captivates with poignant, resilient poems; ones that face toughness with lucidity: of losing family and facing landscapes full of “untended loveliness of the forsaken.” All of which builds an affective and luminous sense of record, of observing and perceiving. The poems speak to 'How we fail is how we continue' and construct insight with breathtaking momentum through frank, sonorous, and delicate diction; furthermore, the poems carry forth an analysis from the person to the systemic, recognizing and remembering 'when pain was not to be seen or looked at,/but institutionalized. Invisible, unspoken,/transformed but not really transformed.' The poems are full of a vital and recuperative prosody: erasures, odes, synesthetic centers; Queen’s commanding style: building the poetic edges that are laced with endeavors, hurdles, grace, and truth into an eye-wide and powerfully-deep poetry collection.” - Prageeta Sharma, author of Grief Sequence
“Khadijah Queen’s newest collection, Anodyne is a study of form & cavedwell, feminism as foresight, and archives the articulation of black excellence & resilience. This is the complexity fans of Queen’s work have grown because of. How she shapes each poem to the sound of a hand, photograph, fractured reflection and a throat. Anodyne as a noun is a painkilling medicine. These poems are a painkilling medicine. They provoke, incite and steer steady as scripture. Each meter is breath, each beat encourages reassessment by the reader unto themselves. Who we be beneath the dust & dust & fallen arches of our name? Many (re)discoveries are assured with the preciseness of Queen’s poetic legend. ” - Mahogany L. Browne, author of Woke Baby, Black Girl Magic, and co-editor of Black Girl Magic Anthology