Amaranth Borsuk

Amaranth Borsuk’s most recent books are Pomegranate Eater (Kore Press, 2016), Between Page and Screen, with Brad Bouse, (SpringGun Press, 2016),  and As We Know, a collaboration with Andy Fitch. She is also the author of Handiwork, (Slope Editions, 2012). Abra, a collaboration with Kate Durbin forthcoming from 1913 Press, recently received an NEA-sponsored Expanded Artists’ Books grant from the Center for Book and Paper Arts at Columbia College Chicago and will be issued as an artist’s book with an iPad app created by Ian Hatcher this year. Amaranth is an Assistant Professor of Interdisciplinary Arts and Sciences at the University of Washington, Bothell, where she also teaches in the MFA in Creative Writing and Poetics.

 

Praise for Pomegranate Eater

A dazzling, sensual, & brilliantly inventive invitation to taste what André Gide called, The Fruits of the Earth–as well as an offering of those more suspect pomegranate seeds from that place below. Persephone’s breath animates these exquisite lines, these wry hymns and provocative psalms of both profusion and reckoning. Already known as one of our most compelling poetic marauders in recent poetry, Amaranth Borsuk proves once again that she is the poet to watch as we enter this next century of new poetic mythologies and of radical technologies as well. Don’t miss this truly amazing book. —David St. John

In Pomegranate Eater, Amaranth Borsuk’s brilliant second collection, we’re forced into a world as dense as the fruit of reference. Language is the myth, transforming quicker than Ovid’s subjects and with more precision than Stein’s subversive prosody. Here, Persephone makes of her perception a cunning field where a lost control is regained through polychromatic violence and brusque erotics. “Rising rhizomes in the risk garden” rebuke the surface of observation allowing the tongue-blade to cut where “nibs of human language convalesce.” I am honored to experience the control of “…like quoins, I wedge. Like coins, I dazzle.” I’d willingly pay that price and eat seed after seed of these poems.
—Phillip B. Williams

Amaranth Borsuk’s Pomegranate-Eater is a verbal feat, an ecstatic, curious, thrilled “feast of ingathering,” where the poet gives voice to the usually mute vegetable world—and pries words open themselves: they are garrulous, festive in Borsuk’s rich discoveries of etymological lineages that echo human connections, emotions. Sink into the gorgeous linguistic play, feast on it, for the mind’s eye and rest your ear to this active text, its pyrotechnic flare for digging out the kinships between words and with sensations (‘milking musk thistle’). Borsuk recalls the Symbolists, with more urgency in her ever-expanding word families, their rooting and rhizomes, their mutancy and mutability. “Amaranth” hidden in “Colonel Amaranth” makes an appearance, flashing the humor that carries us through the book’s probing of various kinds of survivals, deaths (genetic codes and the language of WW II espionage and persecution are all layers here), for “what we love / is not the rose / but the smell of its decay.” Decay and love are knit. A dervish with words, Borsuk admits she’s “guest in this opus,” inviting readers to her table, made of quicksilver and bone. Echoing her epigram from Rilke, she proves no pact between earth and abundance. Still every guest in this pantheon of horticultural specimens (the mulberry has its day as well as the quince), mythic figures (Dido among them), epistolary partners (“Ally” from “Allay”; “Urgency” from “Surge”) increase our love in their aftermath. This is a book that amazes with its dexterity, empathy, and guarded hope; it’s sure to heighten your awareness of language as soother and sayer.—Susan McCabe

 

Excerpts from Pomegranate Eater

SELF PORTRAIT AS RADIANT HOST

Ravenous in pelts of prior selves, I step
                                       out of my vestments
            into ravishment. I lay table
                                      for my own
                                                 commensal multitudes.

Full-length when most aware,
                               armed in offering
                   or pleasure, I could spiral
                                                  at any moment,
                                     shift my fruited baldachin skirt.

My guests as much my hostages,
                                          my home as much hospice
                             as grove,
              this is my favorite role:
                             I’ll be their server.

They come to be nearer the river,
                             its alliterative languor,
call me Brookweed, Cripple,
              Ghost. They approach
                                              to hear what’s sibilant
                                                             in my libant crops.

By what prodigal pedigree
                               was I rendered so adorned?

It began with a rupture mistaken
               for a late-descending
                                                  testis. I turned color
                                  from citron to thistle, my skin
                                                                   regimental
                                                    (never uniform).

I brooded,
              forced to live under a bed,
                                 and there I billowed,
              never learned to contain
                                 my mutation.

I grew hinge-dark, knew rapture
                                 as the taste of broken
               skin. Lean in, I’m not contagious,
                                             just hospitable.

It’s bright here
                              and everything grows.
                              We’re lit from within
                                              by systems of exchange.
                              The feast of ingathering
                                              is laid.
                  What we love
                               is not the rose,
                  but the smell of its decay.

 

 

Readings & Events

 

March 11-12, 2017

10am-6pm. Expanded Poetics: Romantic, Modernist, Contemporary. Hosted by Nathan Brown at the Centre For Expanded Poetics. Concordia University, 1455 de Maisonneuve Boulevard West, Webster Library Seminar Room LB 362, Montreal, QC, H3G 1M8, CANADA.

 

Titles available from Kore Press

Pomegranate Eater by Amaranth Borsuk

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