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Double Portrait (Hardcover)
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“Musical, insightful, and all the way human.”—Claudia Rankine, 2016 Barnard Women Poets Prize citation
Each poem in Brittany Perham’s prize-winning collection links two portraits: lover and beloved, child and parent, citizen and country, spirit and body, living and dead. Each speaker investigates what it means to be in relationship to another: what does it mean to see and be seen, to reflect and be reflected, to address and be addressed? With musicality, grit, and humor, these poems challenge our conceptions of identity and language. By questioning the ways we think and speak, the ways we rehash and reshape our experience, they formalize obsession. Emotionally stirring and unapologetic, Double Portrait contemplates the nature of devotion.
About the Author
Brittany Perham is a Jones Lecturer in the Creative Writing Program at Stanford University, where she was a Wallace Stegner Fellow. She is the author of The Curiosities and, with Kim Addonizio, the chapbook The Night Could Go in Either Direction. She lives in San Francisco.
Double Portrait, by turns playful, mournful, indulgent, musical, insightful, and all the way human, comes clean about our most driving desires… Imaginative and familiar, the result is full of humor that is both rueful and sensual.
— Claudia Rankine, 2016 Barnard Women Poets Prize citation
This unswerving, ambitious work brings the reader on a wild and thrilling journey. The poems lead into a world where desire, the body, memory and invention are looked at in the bright light of language: nothing forgiven, everything laid bare… This is a wonderful, compelling book with the qualities of the best writing, both memorable and moving.
— Eavan Boland
If you took the superabundant abandon of Olena Kalytiak Davis and crossed its wires with the graven psychological acuity of Louise Glück, you might get a poet like Brittany Perham. Double Portrait is full of bracing poetry and arrives from deep inside the soulful solid. There may be a few other books as good as this published this year. There won’t be any better.
— David Rivard
From the opening note to the reader—which Julio Cortázar would have loved—to the final interrogation, Brittany Perham holds up a mirror to the self that, through language, like language, sharpens yet fractures experience. Double Portrait is a rarity, a work of both intellect and devotion that has no patience for easy epiphanies, or hubris, but offers, in its raw, cool reflections, a renewed wonder in seeing. I’m unnerved by the shock of recognition and subversive brilliance of Double Portrait.
— Randall Mann
Doubling back or spiraling around, incantatory, off-kilter, more song than story, the gorgeously obsessive poems in Double Portrait reflect the ways in which we are sprung into, or thrown off, orbit by desire, grief, sex, love—or simply facing the puzzle of an other… [A] smart, surprising, and compelling new collection.
— Donna Masini