Loading, please wait...

product description page

Wire & Wail (Paperback) (Lusia Slomkowska)

Wire & Wail (Paperback) (Lusia Slomkowska) - image 1 of 1

About this item

Poetry. Women's Studies. LGBTQIA Studies. WIRE & WAIL is by turns autobiographic, scientific, philosophic, and religious. Lusia Slomkowska was born with a heart defect in New Haven, Connecticut, in 1954, the daughter of a Polish Catholic Holocaust survivor. Her mother, believing the doctors in New Haven had experimented on her daughter, hid her from all medical intervention for the first twenty years of her life.

Lusia wrote that she began WIRE & WAIL after her second open-heart surgery and riddled with arthritis, and like Frieda Kahlo's paintings, her physical limitations showed up in her poems. Not as crowns of thorns, but as other symbols of anger and grief. Her shattered aortic valve was replaced with a porcine valve, making her a pig-human hybrid or a chimera. In science, a chimera is a mixture of two or more species in one body. The procedure is called a xenotransplantation (transplantation between organisms of different species). And from the Greek word Xenos, come the English words: stranger, guest, alien, foreign, and strange, which also become themes in the book. Bioethics and religion enter the mix in questions like: Does a chimera have a soul? What are the long-term effects on humanity? And, what about animal rights?

This collection explores, poem by poem, the territory created by this science and its effects on one woman. The real beauty is in the poetics of every word choice, every line break, in every poem within the landscape of this difficult science.

"This book is as heart wrenching as it is smart. In it we find the richly embedded human record of animals and organs, science and thought—the logic of flesh, this house of cells—parsed into music and put to the test. What encourages me best about these poems is what sears me most and deepest: lines drawn with the frightful precision of a lance opening the hollows. Each turn of phrase administers another opening in the wilds (part data, part flesh) with its challenge to brace and burst, learn and heal."—Barbara Cully

"With dynamic linguistic energy and sharp intelligence, WIRE AND WAIL ranges through cybernetics, the music of Mozart, the anatomical studies of Leonardo da Vinci, DNA research and the making of new hybrid creatures, to try and answer what the human heart is. Lusia Slomkowska's answer is, finally, that it is a 'hymn to evolution,' for all that, it is also a chimera, a machine that falters, a valve in need of stitching. Evoking the life and death struggle of individual existence, the poet sings her hymn at such a pitch that it resonates with the 21st century."—Rebecca Seiferle
Number of Pages: 75
Genre: Poetry
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Small Pr Distribution
Author: Lusia Slomkowska
Language: English
Street Date: April 28, 2017
TCIN: 52778392
UPC: 9781888553994
Item Number (DPCI): 248-47-8677
If the item details above aren’t accurate or complete, we want to know about it. Report incorrect product info.
MSRPReg: $16.95 Save $0.85 (5% off)
not available
Not in stores

Ratings & reviews

Prices, promotions, styles and availability may vary by store & online. See our price match guarantee. See how a store is chosen for you.

*See offer details. Restrictions apply. Pricing, promotions and availability may vary by location and at Target.com.