by Julia Guez
Four Way Books, 2022
eISBN: 978-1-954245-38-9 | Paper: 978-1-954245-30-3
Library of Congress Classification PS3607.U4716C47 2022
Dewey Decimal Classification 811.6

In the long limbo of post-viral syndrome, Julia Guez aptly frames the recursive paralysis of pandemic rhetoric, whose seeming transitions always arrive at the same uncertainty: "and then what / and then / what, what / then." The Certain Body captures life with illness-how the body moves through disease and rests in the liminal space of otherness. Following the speaker through a harrowing and disorienting SARS-Cov-2 infection, readers witness the poet's gradual refortification as Guez traverses all facets of sickness: its mercies, its pleasures, its gratitudes, its reliefs, its gorgeousnesses. Probing, sharp poems centering an awareness of human ephemerality answer the words of Viktor Shklovsky: "And art exists that one may recover the sensation of life; it exists to make one feel things, to make the stone stony." In "If Indeed I Am Ill," Guez writes, "These sonatas, these scores, tell me / what of them will last when everything falls away-" Through these lyric expressions, Guez shows us not just how art can heal but how healing is art, a modality of acceptance, the meaning in the process, a mosaic of imperfections that creates and embraces what is.

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