By Donika Kelly

Donika Kelly's fierce debut assortment, longlisted for the 2016 nationwide e-book Award and winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize

I proposal myself lion and serpent. Thought
myself physique adequate for 2, for we.
Found convenience in by no means being lonely.

What burst from my again, from my bones, what lived
along the ridge from crown to crown, from mane
to forked tongue underneath the outside. What clamor

we made within the birthing. What hiss and rumble
at the splitting, on the horns and beard,
at the glottal bleat. What bridges our back.

What robust neck, what vibrant eye. What menagerie
are we. What we've got made up of ourselves.

--from "Love Poem: Chimera"

Across this impressive first publication are encounters with animals, mythical beasts, and mythological monsters--half human and part whatever else. Donika Kelly's Bestiary is a list of creatures--from the whale and ostrich to the pegasus and chimera to the centaur and griffin. between them too are poems of affection, self-discovery, and shuttle, from "Out West" to "Back East." Lurking in the midst of this strong and multifaceted assortment is a wrenching series that wonders simply who or what's the actual monster within this lifetime of survival and mirrored image. chosen and with an creation via the nationwide booklet Award winner Nikky Finney, Bestiary questions what makes us human, what makes us whole.

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Bestiary: Poems by Donika Kelly


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