Chloe N. Clark’s poetry collection takes readers through a catalogue of the speculative body. Escaping the Body is a surreal and profound journey through space, forests, monsters, myths, spells, magic tricks, forests, and the body. Escaping the Body is a collection of dreams of the flesh, exploring the cosmic rifts between the soul and the body, encouraging readers to escape their body in search of the liminal space beyond skin and bones.
"Chloe N. Clark deftly evolves and interrogates what it means to be a body moving through the mysterious expanse of space, getting lost in dark forests of emptiness but finding comfort in the stars, in the earth, in networks of roots. A Daphne figure, fleeing men, is turned into a tree, and the question is posed: “Would you beg the gods / for some other kind of saving?” In this world, myths, spells, magic tricks, dreams, space travel, and forests constellate a rumination on how to transcend the threats and limitations of flesh and bone—as she writes, “I wanted to be Houdini, be someone who escaped death over and over.” Clark conjures the cosmic rifts between us, grasping the loneliness and the inevitable losses of life, but her poems pivot on the hope of transformation: space can be an emptiness that “holds you.” Trees push “through our bones” and carry them skyward. A tree may die, but “still cuttings from it / could be regrown, rerooted.” We may seek an escape from the body, but in these poems, we are reminded that sometimes “the body can be a key.” In Escaping the Body, Clark beautifully binds hope to fear, shining light on the dark tableau of our present moment."– Maegan Poland, author of What Makes You Think You’re Awake?
"Chloe Clark can write anything and I submit as proof this collection of poetry. Part haunted mansion, part house of mirrors, part rocket ship, and always aching and honest, Escaping the Body plumbs the depths of what it is a poem can do and emerges with untold treasures. Who else could write a confessional poem turning PC error codes into ekphrastic vignettes? Or wreck us softly with the image of a sleepwalking lover weeping? Or make a love poem out of two people turning into sharks? This is a book of magic – of blood and cauldron and spell and tree, but also of straitjacket and lock to pick and risk of drowning, with Clark acting as both enchantress and Houdini."
– Todd Dillard, author of The Ways We Vanish
Average rating from 6 members
This is a truly moving, truly gorgeous, volume of poetry. Clark deals with heavy topics-- bodies, loss, death, violence-- which are lent a certain kind of lightness by the exquisite beauty of her imagery. Myth, magic, monsters-- these poems create a dreamlike atmosphere that it is hard not to want to linger in. I will be thinking about this book for a long time, and how our selves relate to our bodies, and vice versa.
Picked it up based on the premise and I wasn’t disappointed. It’s very powerfully written and evocative of some ancient Greek tragedy plays (especially Girls Turned to Limbs & All Melusine’s daughters). The first poem particularly is one I’ve reread a few times already! Thematically it’s a wonderful and potent mix of being “missing”, lost, feeling inhuman or bodiless and they play together perfectly. It does have the very well-used idea of love and desire as a hunger, but with the way the poems express the desire to beak out of the perception of a body being limited by purely human experiences. The idea of being missing also lends itself to the reading of the book being about the commodification & objectification of women. The structure is fairly freeform and it helps the experience feel more intimate, like late night thoughts. It also alternates between different ways of laying out the writing – keeping it engaging and making it very hard to put down. Over all this is a very good collection of poems with a lot of depth to explore!
For the first time in a long time I read this entire book in one sitting, barely taking my eyes away from the words in front of me. Whilst I may not relate to every single aspect of Clark's poetry, and in turn her life, I related to so many of the poems in this collection that it was almost eerie. There were times I wanted to cry, times I wanted to shout "WHY IS THIS SO TRUE?" and times I sat in contemplative silence. This book is described by Interstellar Press as a profound journey and you know what, they're right. It's very rare for me to have nothing bad to say about a book, movie or game, even the ones I love but I genuinely felt so wrapped up in the story that if I were to try to come up with something it would sound extremely forced and dishonest. It felt as though Clark had heard the thoughts I only speak in whispers when I'm alone and turned them into poetry. Yet even when reading the poems that I related to a little less the way they were told was so immersive that it didn't matter. I haven't come across another modern poet that writes in the way that I think Clark does yet but if anyone knows of any please send me some recommendations because I can read faster than any one person can write (apart from maybe Stephen King but that's a different topic). Overall, if you love anything mystical, rooted in nature and symbolism or exploring interpersonal relationships in new ways I would absolutely recommend this book. Despite having already read it, I will be buying a physical copy because I am in love.
This book takes an empathetic approach and gives bite size approaches and allows you to have kindness and patience with yourself when dealing with life. This is so necessary for everyone to read in life. Highly recommend. Especially loved the reflection to true life to humanize my feelings and relate. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.