As its suggestively punning title implies, Giving Godhead (70 pp.) is a book of poems that challenges the boundary between the sacred and the obscene by conflating biblical images of holy acquiescence with sexually deviant forms of submission characteristic of BDSM roleplaying. This conflation of saintly and sinful acts of submission naturally centers around a meditation on Christ’s Passion, emphasizing the paradoxical way in which the Christian savior’s simultaneous authority and obedience fashions him into a heteronormative archetype of both masculine dominance and feminine submission, despite his own supposed celibacy. However, the manuscript ultimately looks beyond individual biblical narratives to illustrate their central commonalities and even interchangeability, locating echoes of Christ’s violent subjugation in Torahdic plagues, exiles, and burnt offerings alike. Similarly, this guiding principle of conflation or interchangeability extends also to Giving Godhead’s richly musical aesthetic, which features dense word play and double entendres in order to demonstrate the inevitable sensual transfigurations of a “word made flesh” merely to be “broken and bruised for our iniquities.” In this way, Giving Godhead rewrites the foundational narratives of biblical mythology in light of contemporary gender and social theory, namely by portraying humanity’s relationship with a monolithic deity as the primordial paradigm of an imbalanced and abusive power dynamic.
An early version of Giving Godhead was selected to win LSU's Robert Penn Warren Award for best poetry thesis of 2015 by Danielle Pafunda, whose description of the project follows:
“If a girl, a virus, a horned animal, milkweed, an exchange of cash for dirty looks, the near-rhyme of greed to death, the names of all brutes, and a shroud in which was wrapped the erect ascendant all met in an ovum and, lodged deep in the earth’s core, fused into a supernova. If, from that long ago time until this very moment—perhaps even into the future—that supernova were listening in on us, her grave canal located such that she were overexposed to US American politicovangelizing, all at once began to speak: this is what she says.”
Re:ACTION! (90 pp.) catalogs and satirizes the action-packed scenes we have watched evolve into a sort of American mythology of violence between the forces of good and evil. In these lyrical and narrative poems written collaboratively with Vincent Cellucci, we approach the well-worn subjects as general scenarios rather than trivializing them by name-dropping individual films. Titles include "briefcase full o' $$$," “firing gun at nothing while screaming,” "bomb countdown," "lone witness' incomprehensible last words," "torch the place & watch it burn," and "hanging from cliff // stepping on fingertips", and “human shield.” We think these tropes are very symptomatic of our escapist and violence-saturated culture. Contemporary social issues present in the manuscript include our national preoccupation with war and addiction, xenophobic villainizing of the "other," the presence of a police state, sexualized depictions of physical domination, and the persistence of reductive gender stereotypes in Hollywood blockbusters.
We believe this text will have a broader market base than other poetry publications since it appeals to pop cultural studies and film lovers everywhere. We are looking for a press to actively support this project and help us reach a wide audience.
dreamland trash (66 pp.) is a book of poems centered on the stigmatized and/or criminalized margins of American society—particularly drug culture, queer culture, hookup culture, internet culture, conspiracy theories, mental illness, and the anxieties that accompany our conscious complicity in impending self-extinction. The method of its composition is largely collage, drawing snippets of text from overheard bar chatter, hallucinogenic rants, alien abduction documentaries, government documents, and YouTube’s often nonsensical automatic captioning software. As a result, the book ultimately presents a fractured post-apocalyptic vision of American culture that prioritizes substances and resources over human ties and still willfully and woefully denies the inevitable consequences of climate change even under the ominous skies of an increasingly shadowy military-industrial complex.
no ledge left to love (65 pp.) is a full-length prose poetry project that reimagines and challenges the frameworks of Western philosophical thought experiments, especially with respect to gender, moral certitude, and diachronic identity. Each poem focuses on a different thought experiment in analytical philosophy, from Plato’s allegory of the cave to Nagel’s spider in a urinal. Recognizing that Western philosophy—like all academic disciplines—has been largely dominated by wealthy cis straight white men, no ledge attempts to dismantle the reductive binaries and disembodied logic of the analytical philosophical vernacular, emphasizing instead the rich physicality and potent mutability of the bodies required to convey its lofty ideas.