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Poetry Lgbt

Horrible Dance

by (author) Avery Lake

Brick Books
Initial publish date
Apr 2022
LGBT, Canadian
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price
  • eBook

    Publish Date
    Apr 2022
    List Price

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2022 Governor General's Literary Award Shortlist * 2022 A.M. Klein Prize for Poetry Finalist

A brilliant poetic debut about gender-based violence that dismantles received definitions of both gender and violence, Horrible Dance is an accomplished addition to transfeminist thought and theory.

By turns darkly comic, emotionally connected, playful, incisive, lyrical and irreverent, Lake's poems navigate a harrowing personal and political terrain with understated, expansive wisdom. Lake persistently returns us to the search for love that lies at the core of relational trauma, even as she shows us how catastrophically such a search can be derailed.

This is a rare text able to hold the full velocity of a survivor's hurt and rage alongside a clear-eyed understanding of the extent and complexity of harm. In their honest accounting of a wide array of bad encounters, these poems point us, again, toward compassion, tenderness, and solidarity.

can you forgive me
for how you hurt me so bad
— "On Shame"

About the author

Avery Lake is a worker and writer living in occupied Tiohtià:ke. She attended Concordia University and is not in the scene.

Avery Lake's profile page

Editorial Reviews

"Come for the razor wit and sly commentary, stay for the intense emotional acuity and mastery of form. Lake transitions effortlessly from subtle meditations on trauma and transition to searing indictments of disposability and abuse culture." — Kai Cheng Thom, author of I Hope We Choose Love and Fierce Femmes and Notorious Liars

"These poems are beautiful, pointed, ferociously sad, and at just the right times also bang-on funny. They're a deep look at recovery, trauma, transness, and healing, and what is and isn't possible." — Casey Plett, author of A Safe Girl to Love, Little Fish, and A Dream of a Woman

"The poems in Horrible Dance offer deft witness and lament with a wryly arched brow, and a tender heart, well bruised, still beating." — Trish Salah, author of Wanting in Arabic and Lyric Sexology Vol. 1

"Lake's palimpsest of genders past and future is curious, strange, preoccupied, and lovely." — Davey Davis, author of the earthquake room

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