Sugarblood
by Liz Bowen
Metatron, 2017
IBSN-13: 978-1988355061
Reviewed by Matt Fowler

 

Liz Bowen’s debut collection Sugarblood, released earlier this year via Metatron, examines the alien relationship of the self to the body and unpacks social interactions, vulnerability, illness, and desire. Bowen’s collection howls as it reaches out for something anchoring.

The first poem in the collection, “ethics of rude,” makes apparent the separation between ourselves as an organism and the choice to ignore that fact:

people are afraid of being animals
the distinguishable churn
of a body alive

This sentiment is expressed later on in the collection during the poem “i’m only not embarrassed when i’m waking up”:

the stomach does the work
of the stomach
whether or not any objects are inside it

the stomach stomachs in on itself

This raw, unadulterated examination of body functioning as machinic organism is tinged with hints of Deleuze and Guattari’s Anti-Oedipus. In examining the awkward force of desire Bowen goes on to write:

i can suck myself into the space of a tooth
if it helps you be comfortable
that is to say if it helps you love me
i can wake up as a socket

Sugarblood is a thought-provoking, no-frills interrogation of what it means to be alive and enveloped by the strangeness of existence within a body navigating a foreign context.

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