Skinny by Carolyn Hembree


Temporarily out of stock

$16.95, 6x9", 72 pages, perfect bound
ISBN 978-1-888553-50-5
Purchases for the trade are handled by SPD.

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Carolyn Hembree’s debut collection terrifies.

The title character of Skinny leaves the South and a beloved, dying matriarch for New York City, a “far-off island dream.” Through an expansive dramatis personae, the poems offer polyphonic responses to harrowing encounters. Here is a life at once immediate and recognizable yet imbued with nostalgia: silent film intertitles, biplane transmissions, the broken Welsh of ancestors. This collection incorporates ekphrastic works, prose poems, dramatic monologues, odes, elegies, a pastoral, and a word problem, among other free verse experiments. Despite familiar allusions and forms, the work is otherworldly—regionalisms of the Deep South combine with the idiolect of a very particular family to form a singular grammar as fractured as the landscape it describes.

Praise for Skinny

“I am reminded of a ball of heat lightning that shot through our house one summer when I was young. That charge stayed in the air and made us feel like we had snapped suddenly awake. Skinny wakes us with that blue coil, “fast under a low ceiling,” shooting from sideboard to curtain rod to screendoor in one brilliant flash, electrifying everything. It sounds like bottle-rockets are going off, and I feel the thrill and terror of living inside each explosive line.—D.A. Powell

“Carolyn Hembree rips into language almost physically to make new phrasing out of her Southern lexicon.Skinny, an autobiographical tour de force, arrives full of swagger: In this debut volume of poems, Hembree gets as close to the original words for things as I can remember anyone doing in a long time.”—Jane Miller

“Hembree’s poetics and Skinny’shonesty direct us to language in the raw, a space integral to the human experience and to poetry in large, a museum antechamber of the self where one is in incessant, powerful dialogue with the world around us, the world that has been, and the world that could be. Like Twombly’s scribbles and smears, Skinny challenges the observer, ultimately having the effect that challenging art has: the expansion of art, language, and the self.” —Megan Bell

Carolyn Hembree

Carolyn Hembree, Kore Press Author

Carolyn Hembree’s poems have appeared in Colorado Review, DIAGRAM, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, jubilat, and Witness, among other journals and anthologies. Her poetry has received three Pushcart Prize nominations, a PEN Writers Grant, a Southern Arts Federation Grant, and a Louisiana Division of the Arts Fellowship Award in Literature. Before completing her MFA, she found employment as a cashier, house cleaner, cosmetics consultant, tele-communicator, actor, receptionist, paralegal, coder, and freelance writer. Carolyn grew up in Tennessee and Alabama. She teaches at the University of New Orleans.

In Kenyon Review’s holiday newsletter, Jake Adam York lists Skinny as one of the three books he’ll be rereading. He said, “The second is Skinny by Carolyn Hembree (Kore Press 2012), a manic ‘autobiography’ of the language (and the world) around her. The book has rhythm and force. Imagine H.D. or Anne Bradstreet reincarnated as a punk-rock goddess and remixing John Berryman’s The Dream Songs through a finely distorted amplifier while spinning cuts of Leontyne Price on a DJ kit- but, you know, recorded as a poem. This one will keep you up.”

At Horse Less Press, poet Megan Burns wrote an open letter to Carolyn Hembree about Skinny.


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