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Literature & Fiction - Poetry

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Bright Life, Animal Heart

ISBN: 9798988327233
Binding: Paperback
Author: Laura Minor
Pages: 80
Trim: 6 x 9 inches
Published: 06/01/2024

If you've ever known the weariness of the hustle, the adjunct gig, the diminishing gaze, then you know how crucial it is to find the poems that break your world wide open again. I'm grateful to Laura Minor for startling images such as "The ocean elopes from my arms," and for inviting me to keep company with people who go hard, "know the sadism of several martinis," and do their dishes in the bathtub. Bright Life, Animal Heart is graced by the patron saints of David Bowie, Adrienne Shelly, and Virginia Woolf, and has a voltage reminiscent of Kim Addonizio's Tell Me. This bold, quirky collection is a tour de force of sizzle and salt.  Sandra Beasley

From the opening poem, where "till the discount gods burn candles inside us," Laura Minor's Bright Life, Animal Heart throws us into the fire of her fierce music and metallurgy, as if someone emptied a can of kerosene on all the old tropes and flicked a lipstick-stained cigarette. I found myself shaken from a fugue where my faith in words, in poetry, had been lost. These poems bring me back to that feeling I had when I first got skulled reading Plath as teenager in a food court at the Pheasant Lane Mall. But where Plath ate men like air, Minor ate them "like mangoes/and threw the peels over her shoulder." Minor weaves words through punk rock guts and surgical strikes of lyrical precision. Here is the brilliant audacity of a woman who will not suffer fools nor their expectations of her to go silent into any night. Here is sung the shared esoteric dialect of the rage and resilience of women. And get ready, because here there are bath salts in the roses. I don't just love this book, I am grateful for it being in the world.  —Matt Miller

Bright Life, Animal Heart is a joyride of jouissance, a divining rod between desire and necessity, a lover's lament, an "arcade of salvation," and, in its excavations of coming of age, the feminine, and literary inheritance, a true telling of "the vaudeville of every woman's life." Diving into the wreck of history—personal, national—Minor unearths and sings a sublime story of becoming after violence, fueled by purifying rage, "sanctum spikes still trusting the light."  —Virginia Konchan

Laura Minor's Bright Life, Animal Heart is an electric, textured, and razor-edged book. Cut from the scarred, white underbelly of America, the poems feel like little elegies for possible lives or circumstances that never came to fruition. Casual violence and shocking beauty shimmer for moments, then disappear. The voice of a feminist action hero rises and falls as she encounters endless strangeness and joy. A must-read for people who want more from poetry.  —Sean Singer

Laura Minor's Bright Life, Animal Heart won the 2023 Minds on Fire Open Book Prize. Her first book of poems, Flowers as Mind Control, won the 2020 John Ciardi Poetry Prize. Her work has appeared in The Missouri Review, Ploughshares, The Cortland Review, and North American Review among others.