Is the self inside the body / or is it the body / or can it leave? "How can you ask a question that you live inside?" Madelaine Caritas Longman's debut is an affecting, intelligent engagement with the often-paradoxical pursuit of self-coherence and self-presence. These prose poems, haiku, and experiments with language and form not only examine the individual search for identity but call into question the concept itself. Inhabiting contexts as diverse as the medical system, performance art, queer adolescence, and Talmudic debate, The Danger Model considers what it means to be a "self." Searching for answers in Internet forums, the work of Portuguese poet Fernando Pessoa, and the films and installations of Japanese artist Yayoi Kusama, Longman brings attention to the lived experience of mental and physical illness and attempts to make meaning out of it. Disarmingly candid, intellectually rigorous, and surprisingly funny, these poems explore the luxury and burden of subjectivity by showing us what it is like to struggle to attach oneself to the world through specific desires and needs. Provocatively realistic but also hopeful, The Danger Model is an investigation of how we come to recognize - or not recognize - ourselves and each other.
About the author
Madelaine Caritas Longman is a PhD candidate in interdisciplinary humanities at Concordia University. This is her first book.
- Long-listed, Fred Cogswell Award
- Short-listed, The Concordia University First Book Prize
"These immersive, polyphonic poems document a self that doubts whether it is one. Though they are hard to live inside, I keep returning to them, exhilarated at the alchemy that transforms anguish into art. With a courage born of necessity and an urgent, searing beauty, Longman words the unwordable." Stephanie Bolster, author of A Page from the Wonders of Life on Earth and White Stone
"The Danger Model is layered in perspective and vision, image and symbol, stillness and movement, light and darkness. Longman brings the modality of polarity into one pinpoint, shattering all convention at the same time. This work seems to breathe - has a life of its own - and is written by a brilliant new voice who embodies the thinking of 'the new way of being and seeing' with the soul of an ancient sage. You will see moments of your own life in these pages." Sheri-D Wilson, author of The Book of Sensations and Re:Zoom
"The Danger Model forges a poetics of living inquiry. With a focused and curious gaze, Longman examines how language stretches emotional and physical realities and interrogates the fraught alchemy of existence. These poems shimmer with their own iridescent strength and vulnerability." Adèle Barclay, author of If I Were in a Cage I'd Reach Out for You
"'At what point does a thought / become an illness,' infecting lover, self, and God with ghost-adversaries? It's Longman's meditation on this body of truth, 'letting in both birdsong / and rot,' that bears witness to one of the most epic poems of self-healing fidelity, in the face of paralyzing self-harm, I have ever read." Weyman Chan, author of Noise from the Laundry and Human Tissue