Paperback / softback
August 2, 2022
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$15.95 USD, £11.95 GBP
v2.1 Reference
August 2, 2022
9.00 Inches (US)
6.00 Inches (US)
$25.00 USD, £18.50 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Belly to the Brutal

Poetry for all the mothers and daughters healing the bloodlines

Belly to the Brutal sings a corrido of the love between mothers and daughters, confronting the learned complicity with patriarchal violence passed down from generation to generation. This poetry edges into the borderlands, touching the realm of chora—humming, screaming, rhythm—transporting the words outside of patriarchal and racist constructs. Drawing from curanderisma and a revived wave of feminist brujería, Jennifer Givhan creates a healing space for Brown women and mothers. Each poem finds its own form, interweaving beauty and devastation to create a pathway out of the systems that have for too long oppressed women. The poems dwell in the thick language of "motherfear," "where love grows too / in the shining center of the wound." This poetry of invocation moves toward a transformation of violence that is ultimately redemptive.

Today I Learned the Word Mondegreen

Which means to misinterpret from mishearing
the lyrics in a way that gives new meaning
as I have long misheard the homophony of my heart.

I take it to mean the first flush of life after winter, that deep
need to keep growing after all your once-bright
blossoms have seeded or wilted away.

Have you ever needed to lie
flat as if dead against the rockmarked earth
& listen to the voices licking against the sky

your past shuffling through the leaves like a remix
till you finally realize what your life has meant—
& it aches?

When the truth comes, let it come like jewelweed
wilding beside the poison ivy. The antidote
within our reach.

About the Author

JENNIFER GIVHAN (Albuquerque, NM) is an award-winning Mexican-American poet and novelist whose family has ancestral ties to the Indigenous peoples of New Mexico and Texas. Her books of poetry include Landscape with Headless Mama (2016, Winner of the Pleiades Press Editors Prize for Poetry), Protection Spell (2017, Finalist, Miller Williams poetry prize), Girl With Death Mask (2018, Winner of the Blue Lights Book Prize), and Rosa's Einstein (2019, Camino del Sol series).


"In Belly to the Brutal, Jennifer Givhan explores the questions of gender, language, and motherhood. These are precarious and gorgeous poems, stylistically varied and image-drenched—a speaker who's an adjunct teacher living in her car, a mother who discovers an unexplained bruise on her daughter's arm and seeks its source, the little-known Mexican woman painter who inspired Frida Kahlo. With the dark humor of a good witch, Givhan offers the 'hallelujah hellflowering' we've been needing."—Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Heating & Cooling: 52 Micro-Memoirs

"Belly to the Brutal is a collection of raw and mystical materialism in its exploration of motherhood's continuum: from creation to destruction. The frankness is profound and inspiring, the lyric voice lucid. Givhan gets at the eros and terror of being mother through a harrowing excavation into her body's history. Her poems remind me of Frida Kahlo's flayed and ecstatic self-portraits. I love this book with my salt."—Carmen Giménez Smith, author of Be Recorder

9780819580979 : belly-to-the-brutal-givhan
Paperback / softback
August 2, 2022
$15.95 USD
9780819580962 : belly-to-the-brutal-givhan
August 2, 2022
$25.00 USD

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