A chemical autobiography that lays bare the relationship between the outside and inside of bodies in our current 'petroculture.' Anatomic is a poetry book that has emerged from biomonitoring and microbiome testing on the author's body to look at the way The poems of Anatomic have emerged from biomonitoring and microbiome testing on the author's body to examine the way the outside writes the inside, both harmfully and necessarily. This information and research has been turned into a chemical/microbial autobiography that explores the subject as an assemblage of nonhuman objects and actors. All of the chemicals for which the author is tested are widely present in the environment and believed to exist in most humans to varying degrees. By focusing on the 'outside' that's 'inside,' Dickinson draws attention to the permeable and coextensive nature of the body with its environment and the consequent implications for linking the human to the nonhuman and the personal to the global. Working with the hormone as a compositional method, the poems deliberately combine biographical details (the author's exposure to various chemicals, his diet and lifestyle as contributors to his microbial health) with historical details (famous spills, accidental poisonings, military applications, and attempted political assassinations). Dickinson sees his own body, the chemicals in his blood and urine, the Western-diet-influenced microbes in his stomach, as forms of media expressing the biology of 'petroculture,' revealing his own strange intimacy with the energy sources of our current historical moment.
Adam Dickinson's poetry has appeared in literary journals and anthologies in Canada and internationally. He has published three books of poetry. His most recent book, The Polymers, was a finalist for the Governor General's Award for Poetry, the Trillium Book Award for Poetry, and the ReLit Award. His work has been translated into Chinese, Dutch, and Polish. He has been featured at international literary festivals such as Poetry International in Rotterdam, Netherlands, and the Oslo International Poetry Festival in Norway. He teaches poetics and creative writing at Brock University in St. Catharines, Ontario.
'Adam Dickinson is a wild doctor and a Romantic scientist. With actual blood, sweat, and tears he has written an essential Anatomic poetics.' - Peter Gizzi
'Adam Dickinson doubles down on poetry's tendency toward interiority as he takes the concerns of the poem all the way down to the cellular level. This is a book about the body's intimacies, its toxicities, about the histories that it carries within it. It's a book of lyric and a book of meaningful despair.' -- Juliana Spahr