cover of book

Objects of Hunger
by E. C. Belli
Southern Illinois University Press, 2019
Paper: 978-0-8093-3725-5 | eISBN: 978-0-8093-3726-2
Library of Congress Classification PS3602.E6477A6 2019
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

By turns stoic and ravaged, but always with gutting honesty, E. C. Belli invites readers to consider the smallest rooms of the intimate in this first collection. With each poem pared down to an elemental language both slight and clear, Belli’s work exhibits a surprising muscularity in its poise.

Objects of Hunger explores in reflective, raw lyrics the dread and beauty of our inner worlds as expressed through our struggles against the self and the other. Each poem is a slender organism that speaks its own mind, unafraid of pathos; the emotions here have been tried on and lived in, and the work accrues, lyric after lyric, page after page. In the second section, World War I poems are broken down and dismantled, as the voices of that era’s poets meld with that of a postpartum mother, exposing a shared vernacular among these disparate experiences. Other poems in the collection explore the unraveling and entrapments of the domestic, but with tenacity in place of softness, using a lexicon gathered from Virginia Woolf’s The Waves and Djuna Barnes’s Nightwood, among others.

What emerges is a finely chiseled portrait of intimacy, one that takes seriously love and all discord, the fracas of reticence and familiarity. Belli gives this world to us by way of a throbbing asceticism, in an exploration of resignation, concession, persistence, and monstrosity. This collection tells what it is to need with abandon.

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