by J.D. Debris
Autumn House Press, 2023
Paper: 978-1-63768-066-7 | eISBN: 978-1-63768-067-4
Library of Congress Classification PS3604.E2365
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

A formally inventive debut collection of poetry driven by narrative and character.
In this poetry collection, JD Debris focuses on characters who live on society’s outskirts and demand greater visibility in the face of marginalization. At the book’s heart are extended narrative elegies for two musicians. First, the poet follows Mexican singer and songwriter Chalino Sánchez as he avenges his sister’s sexual assault, and then he turns to Gato Barbieri, an influential Argentine tenor saxophonist who is haunted by a shadowy “man in dusk-colored glasses.” As these musicians question their purpose, we as readers are invited to reflect on our lives, our legacies, and ourselves.
The Scorpion’s Question Mark is personal and mythological, representational and abstract. These formally inventive and metrically attuned poems compose a range of contrasts—boxers Manny Pacquiao and Marvelous Marvin Hagler appear alongside Tupac and Herman Melville, and apparitions of the Virgin Mary manifest in both human and mirage-like forms on public beachfronts. Looking to the scorpion’s tail that forms the shape of a question mark, Debris seeks to occupy uncertain space within the poems, bending forms to find both expansiveness and tension.
The Scorpion’s Question Mark was the winner of the 2022 Donald Justice Poetry Prize.

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