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Claudia F. Savage’s song to her lover proves so thick in the throat that it also thrums a hymn to very eros. Bruising Continents strains at the page: it resembles the hive in one of its poems, whose bees “have invaded the roof” of a house and “dance ecstatically in the morning light, / their persuasive song straining their undersized container.”
H. L. Hix, author of I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language
When song’s measure enters time’s moment, life’s series of instant to instant chained grows intricate, interlaced, and wondrously excessive; the basic boundaries break down their barriers—I becomes you, self becomes world; the vast and erotic reciprocities are let loose and learn to confound the page that holds the poem in which this wildness finds its awful, full-of-awe record. The very title of Claudia F. Savage’s Bruising Continents suggests that each body is a world all its own, and each world a body—land a kind of skin, skin a kind of land, and the love story lurking deep inside the drama of these poems reveals that eros properly seen is a force as monumental as continental drift, as intimate as rain in the mouth, and that desire not only makes us complicit in what gives us pleasure, it makes us “a pleasure-bird / seeking the damp seed.” Better than a book of witness, and better than a book that is wise, this poet writes us a book of becomings, gives us no map of desire’s realm, but lets the roots root down, and the tendrils tendril out, weaving us back into the exuberant, confounded song that is the erotic world.
Dan Beachy-Quick, author of gentlessness
This book will break your heart, your bones and your spine with awe through its metabolism of light and language. An injury begins “I wasn’t a precious bird” and the collection navigates through a “bruised continent” where the brittle, bony archive of human loss sediments. This bruise is a tender spot though, a place that transits through seasons of colour in cellular and earthly time where the “vivid chemistry of water” operates. Savage turns her alchemical eye to the process of healing to re-present the world to us through rain that “wants to be music”.
Jayne Fenton Keane, author of The Transparent Lung
Claudia F. Savage’s poetry seeps into your body and leaves you wanting more than simply a taste. Once inside her words, you want to devour and gulp ferociously until you are full of her magic. Bruising Continents is remarkable work from a remarkable writer.
Katie Jean Shinkle, author of Baby-Doll Under Ice and The Arson People
Claudia F. Savage is one-half of the improvising performance duo Thick in the Throat, Honey and co-runs the music-poetry label Thrum Recordings. Her poems, essays, and interviews have been in Water-Stone Review, Denver Quarterly, Columbia, BOMB, clade song, Late Night Library, Bookslut, Nimrod, Forklift, Ohio, and elsewhere. Her series, “Witness the Hour: Conversations with Arab-American Poets Across the Diaspora,” is a 2016-17 feature in Drunken Boat. She has been a Pushcart and Best New Poets nominee. Her collaboration, reductions, about motherhood and ephemerality, with Detroit-visual artist-Jacklyn Brickman, is forthcoming. She’s garnered awards from Jentel, Ucross, The Atlantic Center for the Arts, and Portland’s Regional Arts and Culture Council. She lives with her husband and daughter in Portland, Oregon. Bruising Continents is her first collection.