© 2017 Switchback Books

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And/Or

Winner of the 2015 Queer Voices contest, selected by Dawn Lundy Martin

"Jenn Marie Nunes writes the body, but does not right it. Hers are not corrective gestures, but gestures that seek to trouble the very notion of 'correct.' In the performative And/Or, the text, like a body, breaks. The text, like a noncommittal lover, breaks off. An abject poetry of footnotes: that which is expelled, though still bound to the body—the textual body disrupted and repositioned. As And/Or suggests, we are both chef and meal. Here, partial, we are becoming-whole in our rejection of wholeness—repeating, 'There are things I take into my body to whole me.' Being held by a word versus being held up by a word. A comfort or (and) a violence. Here, language changes us, plumps us up, makes us ready for our own devouring: As a reader, one can say with Nunes, 'words make me meat,' and we, like her poetry, are sinewy and delicious." —Kristi Maxwell

 

"Jenn Marie Nunes's And/Or flings us headlong into the forward slash. We tip and teeter, clipped mid-parenthetical, balanced on the edge of an incomplete definition. When we look down we see multiple referents in the footnotes, or a replacement, or a 'rephrasing synonym.' Gender languages itself on this precarious divide—'When I thought no difference between men & women'—while language genders the body/text at this jagged rift—'My problem then its twoness.' Whether held as two opposing ideas, or taken into the body simultaneously [fe/male, or sex/gender, or love/sex, or s/he, or w/hole, or t/here, or human/animal], Nunes consumes duality with patterns of interchange. What is interchangeable? What can be interchanged? In its decomposition the gap becomes unexpectedly whole." —Jai Arun Ravine

 

"Nunes's archive subverts and queers popular affectations of spoken gender, and haunts. Like encountering a gallery of arteries framed by the body, and wearing John Berger's vagina as glasses, these poems—tandem voices—are a mesmerizing lens for a new way of seeing. And/Or is like looking in the mirror and not feeling ashamed. One of those pocket-sized mirrors perfect for squatting over with your pants off." —Kim Gek Lin Short

 

"With humor and a sharp critical eye, Jenn Marie Nunes's And/Or interrogates the line between the erotic and the perverse, as any sex literature worth anything should. Nunes's sex, however, is not so simple as a lingering orifice or a searching phallus, nor is it stably situated in the partitioned body's anatomy. Instead, And/Or offers a beautiful anxiety that calls to mind the long moment before the revelation in Barthes's paradox of the striptease, before all is settled, when the erotic lingers in its inexhaustible space of indecision. This is simply a stunning, necessarily complex debut collection of poems by Jenn Marie Nunes that will pull you like a hand you court to stroke your neck." —Dawn Lundy Martin

Jenn Marie Nunes is the author of And/Or (Switchback Books, 2015) and four chapbooks, including the collaborative Opera Trans Opera (alice blue books), and is founding coeditor of TENDE RLOIN, an online gallery for poetry. She lives in New Orleans with her girlfriend and her dog.