My god is this a man



Fence Books, Spring 2014

Purchase through:
Barnes & Noble

“The poems in Sims’ third collection engage the escarpment of the page itself: walled-off phrases set against spare lines on largely empty pages, a proto-graphical representation of thought itself. The results are poems of psychic fragmentation: relationship as crime-scene, the folk ballad re-writ for our new cult of mass-shootings, ‘the quiet and unmeaning’ of a natural world wrought horrific.”
Entropy’s “Ultimate Summer Reading List 2014”

“Like a flea placed under stadium lights, we are seduced by the violence that exists in this sparse world: For heaven’s / sake catch me / before I kill more.”
Bookish, “10 More Poetry Books You Have to Read in 2014”

“Each time I read the news of another horrific mass shooting in the United States, I return to Laura Sims’ haunting third book, My god is this a man. With a skill for artful repetitions reminiscent of Gertrude Stein, Sims isolates and mixes single statements from Boston Marathon Bomber Dzhokhar Tsarnaev and mass murderer Bill Heirens and other sources, shaping their voices into poems of paralyzing familiarity. On each rereading, I find the questions subtly posed in My god is this a man about isolation and connection feel ever more urgent and central to the century ahead.”

“Sims explodes categories of doer-done to, subject and object. Like an earthworm, she leads the reader in and out of states of psychic fracture, confusion and horror, as well as curiosity, beauty, and even, sublimity. Here, everyone is implicated. Every word has been touched.”
Poetry Project Newsletter

“Part of the power of My god is this a man…is the way it intrigues the reader with things that repel, or that one feels should repel. To say that there are ethical implications to Sims’s collection would be to undersell the depth of those implications: the reader, herself, is ethically implicated. The book is a quick read but an unnerving one, and it draws you back again and again.”
West Branch

“Sims’s poems go to a dark place in their attempts to speak about the unspeakable. A perceptive philosophical meditation on guilt and ethical responsibility, My god is this a man offers us more than its fair share of dolesome propositions. Rather than defer to a set of over-determined details and media-driven sensationalisms, these poems give, in their withholding, and they do so with astonishing grace.”
Tarpaulin Sky

“We are greatly aware of space within the text—of what is used and left empty. Towards the closing, Sims writes, ‘The State unearthed a tiny // wooden door.’ With all of the falling, all of the textual movement, one might think of Alice and the rabbit hole. A few pages later, Sims gives us a visual with a repeating field and ‘a body’ resting neatly in one hole. This re-imaging of writing and re-reading allows the reader to interrogate the text with a swath of white space, a silence with purpose.”
Rain Taxi

“There are no gruesome details here. Sims is interested in the philosophy of self-expression through crime, an exploration that is no less chilling for being primarily cerebral. The mind-field we enter in this book is fragmented, grandiose, and claustrophobic.”
—Winning Writers

“Incubated in the interior space of killers, My god is this a man is a sparse, powerful text that meditates on and manipulates the position of the body. The body as both victim and witness, subject and object, as text. Laura Sims tracks the transformation of the body between these states and explores how this shifting position dictates (or does not) the experience.”
Fact-Simile Editions 

“Laura Sims is a startlingly original poet whose work goes very deep, like a well made of animal and human bones mortared together with rubber tires, dismembered books, dismembered dolls, and a lot of other unlikely stuff that draws water from thousands of feet under the surface of the earth.”
—Peter Straub

“I don’t know the exact method or intent behind the poems of Laura Sims’s My god is this a man, but I know how they feel: harrowing, probing, troubling, surprising, and often gorgeous. It’s as if Stein and Dickinson had been invited to converse about the effects of serial murder on body, soul, and mind: a strange wonder. The phenomenological and moral turbulence of these poems is matched by their sonic and structural grace, making Sims’s book a profound offering to ongoing, important conversations about the nexus of aesthetics, violence, representation, and empathy.”
—Maggie Nelson

“In this minimalist account of the language of killers, Laura Sims creates disturbingly powerful chords of empathy. Reading, we discover ourselves inside the one who begs, ‘For heaven’s / sake catch me /before I kill more.’ Like a photographic negative the book shows only the barest lines of its subjects, but in so doing reveals more, and more hauntingly, than full exposure ever can. We don’t want to turn the page, and we do. Looking away is not an option, because we are seduced.”
—Julie Carr

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