Dear Animal, by MK Chavez
Dear Animal, by MK Chavez
WINNER OF THE 2018 PEN OAKLAND JOSEPHINE MILES AWARD
AWARD: We are ecstatic to announce that Nomadic Press author Mk Chavez has just been announced as the winner of the 2017 CA Poetry Prize for her piece "The New White House, Finding Myself Among the Ruins" (selected by none other than Eileen Myles!)
Dear Animal, is a re-imagination of the Linnaean taxonomy from a feminist perspective. This collection is a love letter to the resilient feral female and an exploration of the myriad Animalia that dwell in the margins.
What people have to say
“In this wide-ranging collection of poems, MK Chavez touches on themes from youth to adult, sensual and heartbreaking, erotic and political, investing form and language with a subtle force that moves you to places one has not been to before. Imaginative and original, MK Chavez is a poet for our times whose work lingers on the mind and tongue long after the book is closed.”
– Alejandro Murguía, author of Stray Poems and San Francisco Poet Laureate
"MK Chavez is a dangerous woman. A survivor, a shaker, a maker, a bruja. We need more poets who can spit fire and get real the way she does."
– D. A. Powell, author of Tea, (1998), Lunch (2000), Cocktails (2004), and Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys (2012)
“In Dear Animal, as in the salutation to a frank and feisty love letter, the poet is a “pure bird of the street,” a “rock dove,” or maybe “Joan of Arc,” and the poems are populated by animals of all descriptions, an imperfect, urban, gendered zoology. The poet declares that she studies vaginas, her “Long Deep Wound.” It’s the source of her boundless will and power. She tells us, “See through me. See the violet of my natural disaster, my exposed boutique,” demonstrating her knowledge with intimate vignettes, vivid lists, tales of her yearnings and exploits. Her word play sparkles—fluttery butterflies tossed in the air—“mandrake,” “fetterbush,” “fauve,” “sword sheather,” “Vitruvian.” “Why all the tremble and janksy?” the poet asks. When there is the power of “the giant eye,/ the grand opening,/ the place where you first appeared/ hungry and glimmering—” She says, “I’m a crime.” But if these gorgeous and graphic poems, full of devotion, read as criminal, sign me up for their poetic justice.”
– Joyce Jenkins, editor-director of Poetry Flash, director of Watershed Environmental Poetry Festival
“ MK Chavez’s poetry is sensual and fierce. I read Dear Animal, aloud to myself every day and I get sexier and more courageous every day because of it.”
– Ariel Gore, editor and publisher of the Alternative Press Award-winning magazine Hip Mama and the author of eight books
“MK Chavez wields a torrential consciousness that exists both as racing music and a suspended realm of human astronomy. Memorials share food with births. Freedom fighters and artists must be one. Patriarchy must answer for its brutalization and farce. Sketches of loves expand the boundaries of poetry. Reading her poetry, I feel invincible. Dear Animal, is the incantation before justice, and truly our return.”
– Tongo Eisen-Martin, author of someone’s dead already (2015)
“MK Chavez uses the kind of carefully chosen words—an economy of language that must certainly be the result of great thought and care—that feels liquid in its ease; and yet the vividness of the figures, interactions, and settings she portrays and the intensity of the sensory memories and associations her language evokes belie a complexity and sophistication of thought that is, in the end, a richly satisfying portrait of contemporary life, its conflicts, its comforts, and its discontents.”
– Ajuan Mance, author of Inventing Black Women: African American Women Writers and Self-Representation 1877-2000 (2007) and Proud Legacy: The Colored Schools of Malvern, Arkansas, and the Community that Made Them (2013)
All of our books are printed locally in Oakland, CA. We strongly believe in supporting local publishers and local printers.
November 2016 • 5.5 x 7.5 • 112 pp. • Trade Paper
Cover art by Larassa Kabel
Interior and cover design by Britta Fithian-Zurn