• rump + flank

rump + flank


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978-1-77439-028-3 | 2021 September | 96 Pages


Carol Harvey Steski’s tenacious and unapologetic debut, rump + flank, explores the body in nature’s many incarnations: human, animal, plant, microbe, even chemical. The result is a fantastical poetic work that sheds light on what bodies—especially female ones—endure, probing the full range of experiences from pleasure and hope to deep loss and trauma.

These poems are piercingly humorous, sexy, and peppered with startling absurdities, but are grounded by an undercurrent of nostalgia (and a soupçon of feminist rage): mercury reproduces like funhouse mirrors, oysters are whole notes dropped into eternal song, cancer is a surly character taking and discarding lovers, a domestic chore turns dark as a mother channels her inner Lady Macbeth. Lush imagery melds with organic rhythms to spawn a visceral experience, a tendon-and-muscle-driven engine that readers can feel racing within their own bodies.

“Years of personal and poetic experience have been consolidated in Carol Harvey Steski’s marvellous collection rump + flank. Agile, with a flowing immediacy to the language, these poems are richly inventive and resonant. This is a visceral, sometimes raw, book with hidden time bombs just beneath the surface. Harvey Steski’s voice is unique and superbly confident, speaking with a fluent urgency. It’s a book I’ve been anticipating for years.”
— Patrick Friesen, author of Outlasting the Weather: Selected & New Poems 1994-2020

“Cutting, sharp and sonically rich, the poems in rump + flank dazzle with rhythm, image and meaning. Open and compact they ‘break apart + enter’ with verve and skill. A playful confidence shakes and shimmers ‘with one fell swoop/+ last gasp relieved’ so readers are ‘swallowed wave after wave.’ Subject matter, often rooted in the body, includes the personality behind typeface and a cancerous growth named Clog. An accomplished debut.”
— Catherine Graham, author of The Celery Forest and Aether: An Out-of-Body Lyric

“It’s a sneaky book. The kind that tricks you into thinking by first making you laugh.”
— Jade Wallace, Carousel Magazine (full review)


she is rump + flank
she is side + swivel hip
twirling skirtsteak chopsmack
+ tender in the loins she is
bonein she is marrowsoft
+ babyback with lilylivered
open eyes of round she is
all ribs all tongue
tips + shoulder blades
+ wings made of fascia,