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Gut Botany

Poems by Petra Kuppers

Poetry, Michigan, Disability Studies, Nature

Made in Michigan Writers Series

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Paperback
Available March 2020
ISBN: 9780814347638
Pages: 96 Size: 6.5x8
eBOOK
Available March 2020
ISBN: 9780814347645

"Gut Botany charts my body / language living on indigenous land as a white settler and traveler," Petra Kuppers writes in the notes of her new poetry collection. Using a perfect cocktail of surrealist and situationalist techniques, Kuppers submits to the work and to the land, moving through ancient fish, wounded bodies, and the space around her. The book invites the reader to navigate their own body through the peaks and pitfalls of pain, survival, sensual joy, and healing.

Gut Botany is divided into eight sections. In "Court Theatre," Kuppers revisits courtroom performances following her sexual assault while drawing from the works of Perel and Bhanu Kapil. "Asylum" grew out of the Asylum Project performance experiments that Kuppers co-directed with dancer/poet Stephanie Heit. "Moon Botany" began as a collaboration with visual artist Sharon Siskin and offers a wheelchair user’s view of insects, mushrooms, and horsetail ferns. Amber DiPetra notes that "this book is beautiful when it needs to be beautiful and it is edgy when it needs to be edgy and that is the sign of writing that matters."

Readers looking for experimental poetry that takes up space in their brains and bodies will dive deep and fast into this queer ecosomatic investigation.

Petra Kuppers is a disability culture activist, a community performance artist, and a professor of English and women’s studies at the University of Michigan. She is author of the poetry collection PearlStitch, the queer/crip speculative story collection Ice Bar, and multiple academic books. She lives in Ypsilanti, Michigan, where she co-creates Turtle Disco, a community arts space.

Gut Botany weaves disability, ecological, somatic, and performance poetry. Throughout, diverse human and more-than-human bodies touch with tenderness, violence, joy, and pain. Kuppers tries to be open to ‘the all’ and how all her senses ‘layer and story’ so she can write––‘palm tingling’––toward healing, sanctuary, and love.

– Craig Santos Perez

In these poems Petra Kuppers slides words into unexpected spaces following rivers of conscious memories and neural networks of unconscious motions. Places become political and politics become visceral. She weaves a way of being in the world with the forces that oppose it and edges of reality and sensation that serve to feed it. Reading these poems we find light, breezes, and resilience.

– Margaret Noodin, author of Weweni (Wayne State University Press, 2015)

Gut Botany is a capacious assay of corporeal life-support systems. A lingual choreography of interrelation and interdependence forms a generative phenomenology where every point of contact matters. Gendered, sexual, ableist, ecological, and colonial-settler violence is met with fierce and tender resistance. By disarming all forms of tyranny and extractivism, sustainability is possible. This is a work of immense transformative capacity. I am moved by the sheer responsiveness and receptivity that is involved when blooming out of line as a gender non-conforming nebula. Find sustenance in this generous resource of movement and change.

– Brenda Iijima, author of Remembering Animals

Through a bold new empiricism—attentions drawn to surfaces, new ways to touch and understand touching, and thus new depths of healing—the human/more-than-human relation is rewritten. Gut Botany reveals a geospatial philosophy of radical connectedness.

– Linda Russo, author of Participant