Poetry kills the beautiful people. The Fat Kid, Paul Vermeersch’s second full-length collection of poetry, chronicles a childhood troubled by obesity, poor body image, and low self-esteem. The media’s perfect faces, societal expectations, family concerns, and primitive socialization rituals collide with the already horrendous physical and emotional tribulations of adolescence to drive Calvin Little over the edge. He’ll stop at nothing to become beautiful and weightless, but he must conceal his battle with what the world has come to know as a girl’s disease. Is there redemption in social acceptance, in romantic love, in escaping gravity? Is it enough to learn to love yourself? Calvin’s journey is told in a sequence of poems steeped in both the physical and psychological worlds, in voices that range from the bawdy to the elegiac. In The Fat Kid Calvin Little becomes the ideal antihero — for a shallow culture obsessed with thin.
About the author
Paul Vermeersch is the author of three collections of poetry: The Fat Kid, Burn (a finalist for the Gerald Lampert Award) and, most recently, Between the Walls. He is also the editor of the anthology The I.V. Lounge Reader. His next collection, The Reinvention of the Human Hand, is forthcoming in 2010. His poetry has been published widely in literary journals and magazines. He lives in Toronto, where he works as a teacher and serves as poetry editor for Insomniac Press. He is a long-time reader and admirer of the work of Al Purdy.