Dear Creatures by Claire Bowman

Poems are “imaginary gardens with real toads in them” writes Marianne Moore.

In Dear Creatures, Claire Bowman hosts a suite of poems at once alien and intimately human. They are psyche and senses, spiritual toads. Created through the belief that poetry doesn’t come out of us, it comes into us, these poems express a desire to be in dialogue with something that is beyond understanding. They are spoken through an oracular voice that lacks identity, and embody the incoherence of a shattered psyche. This work is concerned with an intensity of experience that is derived from being a wet, electrical body that houses consciousness, a phenomenon that should never cease to leave us gripped, stupefied, and spellbound.

“Tantric Dementia”

Joyful taste,
state of golden sores,
this has been a long journey
into the lung
of a crayfish.
Blood vessels
of Aquarius,
it’s hot in here.
What do you have against
old patterns?
I say, exude.
And if that means
mining for ruins
on Mercury,
or if it just means
whatever harmony
directs the sound
of your aqueous stomach,
I say eat until your life
blooms like a spider
out of the void,
elephant emotion,
twisted limbs.

Claire Bowman was born and raised along the Missouri River. She earned a BA in English from Truman State University, and an MFA in Poetry from the Michener Center for Writers. She lives in Austin, Texas.


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“Here’s a book that opens again and again the furnace door so we can feel on our faces life’s protoplasmic tarantella and feel it as our own. Remember mythic force? Put your ear against the marvelous hive of this book—it sounds like crystal singing, like the ocean in the heart. It sounds like the world warning and welcoming us.”

—Dean Young

“Claire Bowman’s glorious collection is half goat, half scientist, all full-throated singing cosmos. These vulnerable, masterful, grand poems will restore you to your rightful place among the creatures: jellyfish, radishes, gods, mothers and fathers, planets, and the shape-shifting creature of being itself.”

—Taisia Kitaiskaia

Additional information

Weight 0.3 lbs
Dimensions 5.5 x 8.5 in