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CLMP Publishers Literature & Fiction - Poetry

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Green Knife

ISBN: 9781734831665
Binding: Paperback
Author: Stella Corso
Pages: 118
Trim: 6.5 x 8 inches
Published: 10/24/2023

Framed on the wall of our mordant modern living, Stella Corso's evocative second collection, Green Knife, hangs firmly askew. In this annular and focused suite of poems, the flaneur's gaze is provoked by—and attuned to—its caustic surroundings: a therapist comparing their client to a painting; a subject reflecting on numerous imagined projections; our speaker walking around and around it all (as if in an exhibition hall), cataloguing how humanity's absurdity shifts and blooms based on the eye's moods. With humor and heart, and with an acerbically piercing tone, Corso claims the world "is alive and well. If you care / to look." We just have to be willing to "submit to the image // with courage."


Stella Corso is the author of Green Knife (Rescue Press, 2023) and TANTRUM (Rescue Press, 2017), selected by Douglas Kearney for the 2016 Black Box Poetry Prize. She is also the author of the chapbooks Taboo Vivant (Blush Lit, 2022) and Wind & the Augur (Sixth Finch, 2021), and a founding member of the Connecticut River Valley Poets Theater (CRVPT).


When light falls across it at different angles, Stella Corso's Green Knife is an investigation into the world as an artifact of thinking, or an investigation into thinking as something made by the world as a whole. The book's ostensible subject is art and the humans who precede and follow it in time—and, again, the obverse: the objects that oscillate in semi-permanence around the ephemeral human host. This deceptively light and avid sequence makes one's brain thrum with questions like the breast of a little bird that both throbs and trills. With its double blade of incision and bluntness, Stella Corso's Green Knife could be made of anything—the whole world, vision, light. -Joyelle McSweeney

"Every time I throw a book away someone dies," says this book's speaker, but you'll want to keep Green Knife on your shelf indefinitely, as Stella Corso is a flâneuse who stays news. Fine, dandy, and refreshingly antisocial, the work herein is erotic, ekphrastic ear candy—"I do so love a sad red barn"—for the side-eyeing, bittersweet aesthete in all of us. -Graham Foust

With lines like seeds of noxious weeds planted to intentionally disturb the prim and trim garden, Stella Corso's Green Knife arrives from a voice our society is so lethally discomfited by and from a mind so surreptitiously combustible. In the spirit of Agnes Varda's Vagabond, this knife grinder meanders from graze into trespass, slurps soup at the street-facing countertop, watches other women powerwalking and just can't (or won't) get out of the way. I encountered this sibylline book like a one night-stand with a priestess demoted for falling asleep on the job and being devoted to another kind of sensitivity: it worked itself into my soft tissue, it made me remember things I had once sacrificed but long forgot, and it made me look at my daily life with new disgust and applause. -Valerie Hsiung

If Aubrey Plaza were performing a reading of Chelsey Minnis's poetry in a museum, for the opening night of an exhibit on the surrealist painter Remedios Varo, a small museum, the kind that glowers with intimacy and memory, that isn't fucking around with its offerings, I might drink some organic (minerally) champagne and wander past the poetry buffet towards the gift shop where all that's for sale is this book. I'd buy it. -Caren Beilin