by Feng Sun Chen
Softcover / 112 p. / Poetry
In the poems of Feng Chen’s darkly spellbinding debut collection, Butcher’s Tree, the page evokes and provokes legendary creatures, kills them and puts on their skin—then cures the meat. This startling and unusual book is a medium that channels damned and contaminated creatures such as Grendel, Wukong, and Prometheus. It reconsiders what it means to construct a myth; to mold around a hollow space a materiality of shape that depends on contours without content. Life that has no life. These are love poems whose monstrous repetition demystifies these once powerful beings while at the same time plunging deeper into insensible consciousness, where the human ceases to retain its proper form.
Praise for Chen’s Butcher’s Tree:
This reviewer found nearly every word in this book to be capital-r “Right”—and that’s an astounding achievement for any author, in any genre.
This poetry collection wants to plunge itself into your guts and nest there. It wants to engage in corporeal, spiritual, and emotional cannibalism.
It’s the kind of book that gives a descriptive word like “strange” some core muscle, some hidden teeth.
Feng Sun Chen’s pulpy, wincing poems have a core of iron necessity.
Butcher’s Tree is animal, foody, and thick with the materials of local and ancient and visionary worlds.
Like a thousand tiny teeth gnawing through language’s tender membranes, Butcher’s Tree eats through the gloom of the visible world.