Appalachian genderqueer punk writer C. Russell Price’s first full-length poetry collection is a somatic grimoire exploring desire, gender, and sexuality in multiverse littered with flowers and product placement. Part pop culture bubblegum lip smack, part battle cry, this collection asks, What is radical vengeance, and does true survivorship from sexual trauma exist only in fantasy, or is it an attainable reality?
Price’s cinematic approach to language and scene is on full display, as well as their dark humor and resilience. Within these pages, the surreal is familiar and grief is a national pastime. If the end is near, who among us would not put on Fleetwood Mac? Who would not clean up their eyeliner just a smidge? This collection pulses with the beat that follows destruction (whether human or natural), the moment the jaw unhinges. These poems are not for pearl clutchers. They are for those who have already felt their private apocalypse.
About the Author
C. RUSSELL PRICE is originally from Glade Spring, Virginia, but now lives in Chicago. They are a Lambda Fellow in Poetry, a Ragdale Fellow, a Windy City Times 30 Under 30 honoree, an essayist, and a poet. They are the author of a chapbook, Tonight, We Fuck the Trailer Park Out of Each Other. Their work has appeared in the Boston Review, Court Green, DIAGRAM, Iron Horse Literary Review, Lambda Literary, Nimrod International, PANK, and elsewhere.
“This debut by an ‘Appalachian genderqueer punk writer’ is as playful and provocative as you might guess.” —New York Times
“Price uses powerful, honest language to discuss heavy topics such as mental health and sexual assault. It is a book filled with resilience, pain and dark humor.” —Tara M. Stringfellow for NBC TODAY
“The collection pulses with beats that follow destruction whether human or natural, with the author's cinematic approach to language that lends itself to scenes that breath and are on full display with dark humor and a no-holds-barred approach to the surreal and familiar — ‘Grief is a national pastime.’” — Mark William Norby, The Bay Area Reporter
“Apocalypse as the shock of trauma and round-the-clock aftershocks. As inextinguishable sexhood. As transgression on the dictionary, sowing it with the embodied experience of the holy ‘I.’ Apocalypse: renaming it Carl. Collaring it with a soundtrack. Handcrafting rituals that sustain us past doomsday. C. Russell Price has written an explicit tour guide, a turquoise spill, an embrace of the flyover. Has forged a towering self. An icon. Has named names. Has seeded the land with toxic honeysuckle. It smells so sweet.” —Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets
“Against complacency or complicity, C. Russell Price offers us doomsday armor in a constellation of longing—an escape route through rage, ritual, soundtrack formed by grief. These are horny poems of damnation, daring us to breathe into all the broken possibilities.” —Mattilda Bernstein Sycamore, author of The Freezer Door
“Gworl, C. Russell Price hasn’t simply made poems, but a Persephonean song cycle (‘I won’t make love without music; I have to keep count’) that shows us hell and names the one who brought us there (‘how well he knew / the way to hurt’). Fine, I’ll call this a book, but it’s also a queer jazz fugue in which Price gathers all the ugly notes to fashion a stunning rendition where they ‘sing / lines [they] never loved / the first go round.’” —Tommye Blount, author of Fantasia for the Man in Blue
“These poems are not here to comfort us, to sand down our splinters, to be ‘all positive self-talk / in a lynching country.’ These poems are here to dance, fuck, dream, rage, witness, call out, and survive. C. Russell Price is a singular poet—a singular, startling, unapologetic, unforgettable voice—and oh, you thought this was a date?! is a book we need now.” —Maggie Smith, author of Goldenrod: Poems
“Once shocked into life, one can never return to innocence. Poems like the ones in Price’s book howl at the moon, rage through the night but stay up to see the sunrise, kiss strangers with liquor-licked lips. How could American poetry have ever survived for so long without such a panamorous panegyric sung so full-throated by such a Pan? Because in the end these poems are not about the ‘apocalypse’ of destruction but in its original classical detonations: ‘unveilings’: a hero released from years of slumber back to his life, a goddess reaving through the skull of tradition to emerge fully grown and ready to rumble, the king of storms revealing his true face and burning the unsuspecting into ashes.” —Kazim Ali, author of The Voice of Sheila Chandra
“If the world is meant to end, a love poem will not save it, and yet, C. Russell Price’s astonishing debut makes me feel otherwise. What will save us if not love? Often my favorite books make me want to write, but Price’s work makes me want to live—eagerly, feverishly, like tomorrow may not come, but I so, so want it to. C. Russell Price’s budding legacy is one of gorgeous prosody, hungry love, fierce empathy, and unfettered hope despite it all—you will know Price by the blue petals left in their wake. You will be better for it.” —Kayleb Rae Candrilli, author of Water I Won’t Touch