Sundress Publications announces the release of Stacey Balkun’s debut full-length collection, Sweetbitter, an examination of youth, gender, sexuality, and deep yearning at an atomic level.
Sweetbitter reads like a fever dream as Balkun uncovers the radioactive darkness that hides beneath the earth’s surface and how it seeps into the lives of those who come near. The speaker takes us with them into the wilderness, wanting the world to be perceived differently, begging to be seen as more. From sapphic longing and poisoned baptisms to contaminated bodies and the gendered erosion of autonomy, Sweetbitter is the product of a restless coming-of-age story. In it, puberty is swimming in a toxic pond and recklessness is disguised as control. With Balkun’s hazy, dream-like storytelling, the speaker is a wild creature challenging the social confines of being human, being girl. Sweetbitter is a gripping, sometimes suspenseful, poetry collection that leaves you hungry for more.
Camille T. Dungy, author of Trophic Cascade, says, “In lines that are riddled with visual gaps, drastic line endings, and striking syntax, Stacey Balkun tells the stories of what might become of a body born of such a place. I love the formal and linguistic playfulness of these poems as much as the deadly seriousness of their content. To be human, after all, is to seek beauty and joy, to reach for love and connection, even here, on this polluted and imperiled planet. Especially here, these poems insist.”
Stacey Balkun is the author of Sweetbitter and co-editor of Fiolet & Wing: An Anthology of Domestic Fabulist Poetry. Winner of the 2019 New South Writing Contest as well as Terrain.org’s 10th Annual Contest, her work has appeared in Best New Poets 2018, Mississippi Review, The Rumpus, and several other anthologies and journals. Stacey holds an MFA from Fresno State and teaches creative writing online at The Poetry Barn and The Loft. Visit her online at www.staceybalkun.com.
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