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Samantha Duncan

birth creatures duncan cover

birth creatures duncan cover

Download The Birth Creatures

Something fantastic mixed with the plundering lowing of pregnancy and early motherhood is present here. We have the surprise mixed with trim rhyme: “I’m pulled into the rhino / nestled in its crib of ribs” and we think of this grotesque comfort, the body as push and pull and grasping. So much is about consumption and aggressively so: the moon is devoured and “a peat bog / where the kitchen table was” becomes the murky counterpoint. This is a geography that lurks, that is an extra self within the realm that is the deep loneliness of early motherhood. I too felt consumed while reading this chapbook, but in the best, most delicious way. —Molly Sutton Kiefer, author of Nestuary, Tinderbox Editions EIC

How a woman’s body turns alien, fantastical, so foreign to herself when she grows a child—“under the crust I am cherry pie.” Samantha Duncan’s powerful chapbook-length poem The Birth Creatures traces a 37-weeks-pregnant woman’s struggle to accept what this birth will mean: “I’m an afterthought to be studied/ my insides sighing/ against the hunger for/ more of me   it   you.” Besides the innumerable bodily changes (what Duncan calls a “revolution”), in the house where the woman waits for labor, a cypress tree roots under the crib, a rhinoceros appears where the bouncer was to go, bird bones appear in the bathroom. The Birth Creatures is in one way true to the tradition of magical realism, but also unapologetically peeks at the undersides (those secret, sad feelings) of what it means to become a mother: “a journey   a century/ transforms insides/ into leftovers/ the waste  the time// the assimilation of you/ into me.” Yet also, the joy: “we are doing/ we are real.” —Nicole Rollender, author of Louder Than Everything You Love