Escaping the Body
by Chloe N. Clark
This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Pub Date 07 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 15 May 2022
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 126 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.
Thank you to NetGalley for a copy to review!
Stunning work with many different emotions that people can interpret in their own way. Loved the theme of the book and how easy it was to read and get through.
Will definitely look out for more from Chloe N. Clark
Thank you to Chloe N. Clark, NetGalley and Interstellar Flight Press for allowing me to read this ARC.
I loved it! I want this book on my shelf to refer back to when I need solace. I felt like I wanted to give the poet a big hug and thank her for finding words that I could not.
Escaping the body has many themes, including trees, woodland, magic tricks, pain, relationships, underwater life, the body itself and escapism. Both in dreams and admiring the work of Houdini.
Candid, raw and dreamlike, I could honestly write an essay on how much I enjoyed this collection. I will definitely be looking at Chloe's back catalogue.
• I Was Planning On Learning to Breathe Today
• Questions We Asked For The Girls Turned to Limbs
• The Detective, Years After
• For Someone Who Doesn't Have To Believe In Monsters
• When Everyone Else Says After
• We Imagined Their Fossils To Be Thunderbolts
What I enjoyed is that the poems actually had some meat to them, when reading new release poetry I’m always apprehensive that it is insta poetry, this was not that. I’m so glad for that.
In other places, sometimes it’s more like prose rather than poetry, in my opinion. It’s just a paragraph about something. I feel that is the collections main let down, in those places I found it hard to concentrate.
Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read and review this ARC!I loved almost every other poem in the book! And the ones I didn’t love, I liked.
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 and the interconnectedness of living things. From bizarre doctor visits to contemplating Zombies and our current pandemic - these poems are at once tender, terrifying, and honest.
Highlights for me included: "Undue Acidity In Your Veins" - which is a horrorfest gem, "Apocalypse Scenario" - which might be THE POEM OF THE PAST TWO YEARS for me personally, and "Sci-Fi Lesson" as well as "How to Grow Your Own Forests."
If you love horror, love nature, love exploring the cracks between existence, read this collection.
Thanks to Netgalley once again.
"Are the stars so hungry they can hardly wait to taste you?"
Thank you, NetGalley for the chance to read and review this ARC!
I loved almost every other poem in the book! And the ones I didn’t love, I liked. I'm definitely checking out other works by this poet!
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This was a pleasant surprise! Narrative-based poetry, which are always my favorite, with a strong focus on empathy and understanding others. Biggest themes here are nature, people who are missing, escape artists/illusions and space.
There's some poignant stuff here. Sometimes relatable, other making you go "huh", in-your-face or riddled with symbolism.
In one word? Aching. That was the biggest feeling I got throughout this entire collection, reminiscent of Patricia Lockwood but more on the speculative side. Recommended!
Once They Sainted a Mermaid
The Current Will Push and Pull You
Grow Your Own Little Forest
This was my first time reading Chloe Clarks work and I was not disappointed. Such a beautiful collection that felt eerie and powerful. I felt like I was taken on a journey start to finish, and I read the entire collection in one sitting - and I will definitely read again.
i consumed this book in one sitting; it consumed me.
chloe has a way with words that give light to even the heaviest of feelings and situations.
she make heartbreak into beauty, and that takes serious talent.
i cannot wait to see what comes next from chloe.
Escaping the body is a lyrical and narrative rich collection of poems, Clark takes the reader on journeys into Houdini's escapist illusions, the vast expanse of space, and as far as myths from Ancient Greece. Reading this was like taking a deep dive into the tissue of the body and learning what makes our muscles move.
My favorite poems are: "Dissolutions", "Questions for Men Falling Through Space", and "There Is No Matter."
A stunning and beautiful work of art. Thankful that I got to experience how Chloe Clark writes and draws the reader into the softness and the harshness of the horror of knowing oneself.
Such a well thought collection about the body, our flesh, our lived experiences on our vessels. Some of the themes the author explores and I loved were: the body and the functionality of it, magic, water, sexuality, fear, history, daily/mundane life and mythology. Stunning collection! Thank you for the ARC.
This was probably the strongest poetry collection I've received an ARC for yet! Some of these poems actually made me gasp I felt so connected to them. Like any collection there are some flops but I don't think any of these ruined the entire thing for me. Overall, a really strong collection and I would definitely check out more from this author!
This was my first read by author Chloe N. Clark, I was curious to see how this collection of poetry felt.
The way in which the body is depicted in these pages is quite unexpected. There is a variety of perspective were some are quite visceral and others very blatant in their message. A few of these felt disturbing, enlightening and moving.
The author succeeds in allowing the reader to interpret this poetry in a way which will either comfort or disturb them. I found many quotes which I was drawn to and repetitively read them.
Overall this collection includes some dark and uplifting poetry which I enjoyed experiencing and would recommend checking out.
I'm not really used to poetry books. If I'm honest I never felt like I was emotionally smart enough to get them - which may or may not be true. This book was a big step in making me realize that poetry is about much more than just understand the meaning behind every verse - it's about the feelings you're left with after reading them, whether they make perfect sense to you or not.
The imagery in this is stunning and the way Chloe N. Clark paints with words makes this a truly interesting and inspiring experience. Her verses make you feel like the body is something bigger, the bigger somethings are the body and all of the above are feelings.
However, there were some clear ups and downs in my experience with this collection - in some moments I was thoroughly immersed by every poem, in others they just started to feel a little flat - and maybe a bit repetitive. As it always is with poetry, though, I am sure that the ones I found less interesting will be someone's favorites out of this book.
As I said before, in the end it is all about how each poem makes you feel - and Escaping the Body is absolutely bound to make you feel a lot.
Absolutely loved the elegant way in which so much grief and scary thoughts about life and death were presented.
Short and powerful poems about relatable fears and human pains told in such a beautiful way integrating many interesting metaphors and comparisons.
Definitely would recommend this to anyone looking for some short horror thoughts and reflections about the dark sides of being alive.
An account of the body, explored through surrealism, hauntings, magic and nature. It explores the body in relationships, in trauma, in remembrance. Memories and dreams form an integral tool in the existence of the physical body. It traces histories of the body and all the places it has and does exist.
The poet explores gendered violence, toxic relationships and the ecology of balance through commonplace objects and routines.
I was expecting more dark and horror elements, but I was still hooked! The book is divided in sections and first section was probably my favourite.
I was captivated from the first page to the last. The author is a master of metaphor. I could see every scene so clearly. I read a lot of poetry books, but this one still stands out in the best way. The poetry consisted of the raw, soul-filled stories that readers yearn for, with the authors unique flair. It was everything that I’ve always loved about poetry mixed with new and compelling aspects. It’s the kind of heavy honesty that leaves you feeling held.
The world's flow like water.
The poems take you on out of the body journey with its magical surrealism.
The words make you relate and realise the happenings of your life and it almost feels like taking a deep in a mystic river.
Wonderfully evocative storytelling in these works. I was quickly drawn into each piece as if experiencing it for myself.
This collection showcased a beautiful macrocosm between complex human thoughts/emotions and the natural world. Sometimes the two flowed together in with a sense of surrender, resignation or acceptance -- while other times there was a painfully jarring dissonance, as if the comparison were an emotional attempt to distance themselves from their suffering. Escaping the human Body by focusing on the outer world.
I was particularly (or personally) touched by 'Lacunae' and 'Questions For Those Who Aren't Sure Where To Begin'.
This is such a beautiful collection that really lives up to its title. There are poems on the bodies of missing women, poems that ask what makes a body a body, what our bodies consume, and their limits. There are small focuses on off-putting body parts like bones, teeth, and skin. The author goes through a relationship and breakup and explores each of their bodies and the ways that they interact and malfunction. I was a little distracted by word choice/unnecessary words at parts and wished that some of the poems were more concrete. But overall, the poems were beautiful and surprising, I was really impressed. This reminded me a bit of Olivia Gatwood and Franny Choi.
Escaping the Body feels like longing, life and death comparisons, the soulful reaction of someone in love but unable to have the object of their affections return the feeling. The longing within remembrance, fleeting feelings versus the all-consuming longing of someone who has been in unrequited love for too long, and the sense of being forgotten and left behind is profoundly exhibited throughout the poems. Some of the poems are structured more similar to a short story than a poem, beautifully tying together elegant storytelling with profound poetic symbolism of the feeling of love, the experiences of the body and mind, along with the forest and how Clark compares it to the human body and existence.
Lovely collection of mixed quality. The excellent poems are really, really excellent with some mediocre ones sprinkled throughout. I loved the structuring around magic tricks and the recurring motifs of space travel and Greek myths.
I really loved this collection. I felt each poem was genuinely strong and good. i could read one of the single poems on their own and be impressed. So having a cohesive collection really just strengthens the work. The subject matter of the poems was something i relate to and am interested it. I had been collecting my favourites and ended up with half the collection written down.
This is my first read by the author, but I'm excited to look into more - I really liked it! It's a darker poetry collection, which is my favorite. I love the emotions in here, the words perfectly conveying everything from hurt to anger to apathy.
This is a bit more of an experimental collection than a lot of the others I've read this year & recently - I mean, it's not super out there or anything, but the variety in topics, way each poem is written, length, and style of each one makes it a pretty diverse collection content-wise. Even so, the author's got this clear sort of tone to their voice that reminds me of like 2 AM lo-fi, but sad; I don't know how to explain it, that's the best I can do. It's a compliment! So vibey, loved it.
Chloe N. Clark is the author of Collective Gravities, Under My Tongue, Your Strange Fortune, and The Science of Unvanishing Objects. Her forthcoming books include Every Song a Vengeance and My Prayer is a Dagger, Yours is the Moon. She is a founding co-EIC of literary journal Cotton Xenomorph. Her favorite basketball player will always be Rasheed Wallace and her favorite escape artist can only be Houdini. Her newest collection, Escaping the Body, is a tour de force exploring the physical body and the liminal spaces between one’s soul and one’s skin and bones.
On the outset, Clark’s poems read like a woman’s musings on childhood and young adulthood. For example, a poem like “It’s the Horror of My Friends That We Say Mean Things About Blondes” implies some coming to terms with childhood rivalries and whatnot. However, that’s how Clark lures unsuspecting readers closer and then ensnares them with her lines:
when people say our names,
we don’t always answer
because giving in to a name
is being devoured by it,
we like it best when you
make our names sound like
sacrifice, like falling through black
holes and being pulled apart
without knowing it
Poems like this take a simple story and expand it, making it seem mythic and terrifying. This is Clark’s power as a poet, twisting the common place and ordinary into something dark and haunting for the reader.
Clark is also able to start with a horror trope and just run with it until the reader has nightmares. A poem like “The Undue Acidity in Your Veins” begins with a nightmare scenario and just builds from there:
The doctor tells us that I need
to learn how to cut into
my own skin.
“If she can’t do it now, she
won’t be able to do it when
she has to.” He says to you
not to me.
This idea, that a young woman would need to learn how to cut herself and scar her body on demand, while an apt metaphor for how society treats women, is very terrifying. However, Clark’s poem doesn’t stop there, and stanza after stanza, things get worse for the heroine in the poem while the reader is forced to watch in horror.
Escaping the Body is a phenomenal book of poetry. While not every poem in the collection is a horror poem in the truest sense, the overall collection is a dark vision which haunts the reader well after the covers have closed. Chloe N. Clark is able to take things that seem innocent and twist them into fantastic torments for her readers. Anyone who is a fan of horror poetry or poetry in general will count themselves lucky to have partaken of this tome.
I had seen a review for this collection that described the work as a whole as "aching," and I think that is an incredibly apt description. I truly enjoyed this collection and think it was so well curated. I will definitely be recommending and picking up anything from Chloe Clark in the future.
Escaping the Body by Chloe N. Clark is the poets fifth published collection of poetry. Clark is a founding co-EIC of the literary journal Cotton Xenomorph. She writes poetry and fiction, and some essays about food, mostly, but also does critical scholarship in the history of horror, gender and science fiction, monstrosity and othering, and inclusive practices in pedagogy.
Clark mentions in her introduction that Houdini is here favorite escape artist. His quotes along with those of other magicians including his namesake separate each section. The theme of escape and illusion flows through the poetry. "Missing Girl Found" consists of stanzas of various possible outcomes. First with the most feared result and then with other outcomes ranging from the missing girl is found wanting, or found beautiful, or found happy, or, or, or... Her treatment of the poems leaves a bit of mystery and fantasy with mentions of faeries and Melusine. The youthful willingness to see magic all around us is stifled by age and everyday routine. Clark uses magicians to create pathways for our escape. Those magicians come in many forms -- the actual magician, a forest, monsters, and myths. Escaping the Body is much more a return to youthful acceptance of our surroundings rather than a New Age separation of body and spirit. She relates to simple things as important and deserving of attention. We all have our "Rosebud" somewhere in our past. "Flight" seemed to be the keystone poem for me tying together much of her work.
The theme of escaping the flesh runs through the collection. The reader will also get reasons why escape is wanted in "Error Coding" and "But Also This is Why the Robots Always Turn on Us." There is a wide range to Clark's writing while keeping in her theme. At the start I wondered if this was poetry a middle-aged male would read, but quickly I fell into the groove and enjoyed the journeys. The writing is deep and intelligently thought through. We are led to escape our personal chains and traps in much the same way as Houdini escaped his chains and straitjackets. An excellent collection of contemporary poetry that will appeal to traditional poetry lovers.
Haunting collection that i would recommend to anyone. Beautiful, beautiful words and written in narrative form.
I thought this book was about the body. The title is what got me interested in the book. I thought it was going to a nice feeling , love book. It wasn't but I am not disappointed. This book was great and very thought provoking. I had to stop reading to think about what was being written.
I'm the title the word "body" meant all different kinds of bodies. If you really sit down and really read the poems you will see it. All bodies are in such different form, it makes the poems even more beautiful. Like I said, this book did NOT disappoint me at all. Just have me more time to think which I highly welcome.
I received a free copy of the book and is voluntarily writing a review
A stunning, cohesive collection of poems that was really beautiful. Every poem had something that I annotated and Clark’s skill with language was unbelievable. Will definitely read more of this author’s other work!
‘Escaping the body’ immediately hits home for any modern woman. If you’re looking for readable longer form poetry look no further. Exploring women’s bodily agency and the idea of escape, this poet is able to develop ideas that pang at your heart strings wishing you yourself could find such perfect words.
***2022 most favourite poetry collection alert***
I cannot remember how many times I have reread this poetry collection over and over again ever since I got approved of the advance reading copy!
I took my own sweet time with this collection because I was awed the very first time I read it. And it did the same the next time and the next. I just love it so much!
Much with the same vibes as that of Rupi Kaur's and Amanda Lovelace's collections, this one talks about girls and women; the society we live in and the twisted versions of ourselves.
As much as the expressions in this collection may seem triggering on many aspects, I feel comfort in reading about them as I as a woman am aware about these issues everyday and I am reminded about them every living moment of my life.
I live for such poetry. Thank you, author. You said it all.
Thank you, Interstellar Flight Press, for the advance reading copy.
I was offered a copy of this book as an ARC via NetGalley and will swiftly admit that I am a bit of a beginner when it comes to poetry. I am determined to try to broaden my horizons and try reading new forms. As I am no aficionado of poetry I would not even attempt authoritatively comment on the poetic forms themselves but, personally, something about this collection of poems really resonated with me. Many of them involve some level of visceral disconnect with yourself and/or others and I think that this is something that a lot of people can empathise with (especially in this era of covid). There were a few poems that I am not sure I understood but that is completely the flaw of the reader's lack of experience and I would definitely like to come back to this collection at a later date when I feel more confident analysing poetry.
Escaping the Body is a speculative poetry collection with topics of robots, zombies and other creatures.
Overall this collection was pretty good. Each poem could stand on its own and the writing was creative and well done. I liked the horror/speculative elements as well. If you are a poetry fan definitely recommend.
This fantastical and haunting collection takes the reader through the separation of body and spirit through trauma. As someone who's experienced trauma as a child, I built mythical worlds in my mind to escape and survive. This collection illustrates the beauty and sadness of these worlds, that become increasingly hard to leave when we grow up.
I have to preface by saying that, although I do enjoy poetry when I come across it, I am not an avid reader of poetry by a long shot. Escaping the Body may have changed that, for me.
Clark hits it out of the park from the very first poem (which, I think, still remains my favourite of the whole collection) and keeps the quality and beauty of her words consistent throughout the book. Her inspirations (space, the body, even - I think - death and murder) are clear and her musings on them are thought-provoking.
There's not a whole lot more that I need to say about the collection; just do yourself a favour and read it. I was genuinely moved by a great many of these poems and can't wait to check out Clark's other works.
An absolutely gorgeous, stunning and collection of free verse poetry. Every poem stands on its own but read together tells a moving narrative of loss, and healing.
This is an outstanding book of poetry. Moving, provocative, thoughtful, and compelling, the poems here move in and around the body and the world around bodies, helping readers envision things in new ways. The language and imagery is unique and well-honed, and I especially enjoyed the references to and ideas prompted by fairy tales and the gothic.
Thank you to NetGalley for access to this title in exchange for a honest review!!
I genuinely enjoyed this collection so much.
I found the writing style so easy to get lost in, and often would find myself seemingly experiencing things alongside the author with the such vivid descriptions.
I am eager to look into more of this writer’s work and am so glad to have found this collection!
Several poems in this collection come back to the theme of escape and escaping the body. However, I also found it interesting how many of the poems dwell continuously on and circle back to the body, showing the body as a place that cannot be escaped even as it changes and decays to bones. Personally, I loved the speculative aspect of this collection.
content warnings: sexual assault, death, sexual content, body horror (nails/skin/veins/broken fingers/bruises), grief, loss, trauma
Although this is not Chloe N. Clark’s first poetry collection, Escaping the Body is the first of her work that I have consumed. With diverse themes such as trauma, loss and the body, this collection left me with a nostalgic feeling, verging on melancholy.
The imagery was vivid and vulnerable, each poem beautifully written and relatable. There were some parts that felt repetitive, especially toward the middle, but with a style more narrative than descriptive, this collection was able to hold my attention to the very last word. The references to science fiction and horror as well as the homages to Houdini helped with that.
Overall, I truly enjoyed this poetry collection and can’t wait to pick up more of Chloe N. Clark’s work.
Great collection of poems, strong and powerful wording from a brilliant author. Throughly enjoyed this book.
I absolutely loved this poetry collection! The writing is beautiful, vivid and sensorial. So many vivid images came to my head while reading this poems, that encompass so many human emotions. I found it very diverse in themes and imagery, loved the references to sci fi, horror and historical figures. This was the first work I read by this author, but it will certainly not be the last.
Thanks to Netgalley for giving me the opportunity to review this amazing work!
This entire collection of poetry is a love letter to surviving trauma. The poems can easily be read as standalone pieces but as a cohesive read, readers explore the tangible trauma a person can endure, as well as the things that go bump in the night that we can't see but we feel is there.
4/5⭐️ I enjoyed this book of poetry. I liked the horror and sci-fi themes. Very simple prose that didn’t feel too heavy.
i would read this again and again… and i did just that. these poems are beautiful, deep, emotional, ethereal, and out of body. i will not only purchase it i will purchase multiple copies and give them out to all the people i love in my life. a must read for anyone trying to make sense of themselves, life, and the in between.
Escaping the Body: Poems was the first collection by Chloe N. Clark I’ve read, and it will definitely not be the last. Her writing is gorgeous and evocative.
It’s true that a lot of the poems in this collection do come back to the theme of escape and escaping the body, but I also found it interesting how many of the poems dwell continuously on and circle back to the body, showing the body as a place which can’t be escaped even as it changes and decays to bones. Even in the poems where escape from circumstances, temporarily cheating death, or transcending the body are possible, you can’t fully escape yourself. Reading this collection definitely made me think more about what it means to exist in a body, about what it means to exist as a sentient being, and the unease which we thinking creatures feel when we think about ourselves as vulnerable bodies.
I also loved the variety of poems in this collection which range from surreal, to mythical, to sci-fi, to horror, to science, to homages to Houdini. Many of the poems are multi-genre or genre-blurring. I did go into this collection expecting every poem to be more horror-oriented (because it came up under horror on my search results), and if you’re only interested in horror and horror-adjacent poetry, you may not like all the poems in this collection.
In addition to variety in genre, this collection also varies significantly in form and tone from more prose poems which tell a narrative to very threadbare poems which focus on a specific moment or feeling. It takes a lot of confidence and talent to play so effortlessly with form and style.
Overall, this is one of the best single-author poetry collections I’ve read.
My Favorite poems were: “Questions We Asked for the Girls Turned to Limbs,” “Missing Girl Found–,” “I was Planning on Learning to Breathe Today,” “What the Earth Returns to Our Mouths,” “Osteomancy,” “Lacunae,” “Grow Your Own Little Forest,” and “Ends and Ends” (which is an excellent concluding piece).
I received a copy of this from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
This isn't Chloe N. Clark's first poetry collection, but this is my first time experiencing her words. With this, I learned three things: first, Clark knows how to title her works. I was just nodding my head with a stupid smile on my face as I scrolled through the contents. Second, it's quite a long collection which makes some concepts slightly repetitive. Because the collection spans through five parts, it cannot go unnoticed that some parts just stand out among others, in terms of both idea and execution. Then again, this happens almost every time. Third and last, the language used is very accessible indeed. It's more narrative than descriptive, but I think it's something that can consequently be enjoyed by avid poetry fans, considering Clark's talent in word-weaving. That being said, this is the type of poetry collection I would recommend especially to those who want to get into poetry but do not know where to start.
Thank you, NetGalley and Interstellar Flight Press, for providing an eARC in exchange for an honest review.
I found this collection absolutely beautiful. Clark is a master of the written word and utilizing it toe vote emotion and recollection. I think this book would be an enhancer for any library's collection and any poetry-lovers repertoire.
I adored this. What a stunning collection - I typically bookmark my favorite poems, but quickly found myself bookmarking way too many! To name a few, I especially loved Apocalypse Scenario, A Reward for You and The Ones I Don't Think You Need, Ends and Ends, You'd Be Home Now and We Imagined Their Fossils to be Thunderbolts, Absolutely gorgeous and gut-wrenching.
This collection is simple, vulnerable, beautiful. The poet blends mythology and natural imagery, space and magic, history and personality and honesty to dig deep into the spaces between our ribs and the silences between our words.
Clark has a true gift for poetic lyricism and does not shy away from experimentation. She pushes you to the edges of your comfort zone, inviting you the step out of your skin and exploring the world beyond your limitations. She sees beauty in so much, and has such a somber, sobering perspective on the world and the people within it.
I did find that the collection lulled a bit toward the middle. The strongest pieces definitely bookend this one - so you get a strong start and a big finish. But the magic of this book and the poems within it is its ability to stay with you. You'll want a pencil on hand to highlight those poignant lines. I can absolutely see this book being the well-loved paperback accompanying people on their own journeys.
Genuinely enjoyed his one, and will definitely be recommending it! It's a great stepping stone into horror-adjacent poetry for those curious about the genre but not sure where to start.
“In stories from centuries ago,
our skin was cursed,
befouled by Gods or just because
in these stories, we cursed our bodies
and the weight of or skin
as it changed us, shaped us, made us.” (All Melusine’s Daughters)
Chloe N Clark’s Escaping the Body is a haunting collection of poems that entangles myth and science, body and soul. The poems read like dreamlike flashes exploring themes of loss, pain, femininity, life, and death.
Clark’s use of motifs relating to myths, the natural world, illusions, and space in many of the poems, especially when talking about femininity and the female experience really resonated with me. Each poem had some aspect that felt relatable to me in some way, even if only vaguely and maybe not even in the way Clark intended. The horror this collection brings comes from the melancholy ache you feel while reading these poems. The poems are lyrically written, but never feel too self-indulgent. Even myself as someone new to reading poetry was able to enjoy the beautiful riddles and metaphors in the writing while still connecting to meaning and being able to take something away from each poem.
It's rare that I find a collection of poetry that reads so very smoothly. Through nature and myth and magic tricks, through the body and beyond it, this collection remains thematically consistent without exhausting its subject matter. It is an empathetic, thoughtful, and clever reflection on the human condition and I found it genuinely gorgeous throughout. Clark's poetic voice, while contemporary, has a classic feel to it and I can easily see myself recommending this collection to a broad range of readers. This was my first foray into her work, but will definitely not be my last.
Thank you to NetGalley and Interstellar Flight Press for providing this digital review copy in exchange for an honest review.
i really liked this poetry collection! the poems felt very personal, i enjoyed how beautifully they were written and the imagery allowed me to create my own meanings for them :')
This book SPEAKS TO MY SOUL
I don’t usually pick up poetry voluntarily, but bookstagram made me do it.
Lately, I’ve found that prose feels just surface-level and doesn’t get to the core of whatever the author is trying to say. I want them to dig deeper and make me feeeeel.
And boy, this book will punch you in the gut. The author is an artist and doesn’t waste words. Her writing is romantic, real, and dark-and-twisty and I want her to be my Cristina Yang because she gets me 🙌🏼