Answering a call to go feral, these poems are part invocation and part prayer, re-imagining the form of the confessional poem by exploring the nature of confession from a feminist and anti-colonial perspective. In This Red Metropolis What Remains, Leia Penina Wilson composes a mysteriously stark and playful pop-surreal romp through a mythic apocalypse. Dropping in and out of this mystic narrative are voices of characters who are trying to survive and to reconcile their own belonging.
These poems reckon with what happens in the aftermath of brutality, questioning what anyone can or should do after tragedy, questioning everything until they begin to break down even their own authority. The landscape in the world of This Red Metropolis What Remains is itself deeply unsettled. Each form varies and reflects an endless transformation of embodiment and interrogation. These poems ask what can be recovered, if anything, through an uninterrupted interrogation of memory, category, and language and with an unbroken attention to the speaker’s own power. Creating shifting architecture and landscape that reveals both the disintegration of cultural time and the eternity of interior time, confession and lyric wrap both speaker and listener together.
About the Author
Leia Penina Wilson is the author of i built a boat with all the towels in your closet (and will let you drown) and Splinters are Children of Wood. Her work has appeared in Denver Quarterly, Dream Pop Press, and Split Lip. She is an afakasi Samoan poet from the Midwest, and she lives in Pittsburgh, PA.
“I enjoyed the fabular vibe of This Red Metropolis What Remains, the way that exacting loss and neon pleasures combine with a light yet complex tone. ‘[I] want to be wild/in the wilderness,’ exclaims the narrator-poet, as a centaur canters past or stamps its hoof in sudden anger. And what would it be to step over the boundary of ‘red salt’? How do ‘menace’ and ‘extinction’ speak to each other across zones of human and animal comfort, or desire? Leia Penina Wilson conjures her magic as a poet in service of questions that, themselves, form during the act of reading itself. All of this feels quite generous and free, optimistic, while at the same time speaking to survival. How ‘something must come’ no matter how ‘beastly’ the experience is.” — Bhanu Kapil, author of How to Wash a Heart
"In our riven American moment, one which Leia Penina Wilson rightly sees as reeling between apocalypse and carnival, what can cure us? Not a poem. And certainly not a poem like all the other poems. We need something more like poetic fury and mythic rage. We need words drawn from the wounds of those violated bodies and gas-lighted souls now suffering among us. And we need not a poet, but a witch, a ghoul, a nighthag, a demigorgon, some darkly feminine spirit with the ferocity and will to 'unwound' us. This is exactly what Wilson strives to be and do. Through her epic upendings, her feral incantations, and her savage heart, she conjures up for us the specter of our post-wounded selves." — Eric LeMay, author of In Praise of Nothing: Essays, Memoir, and Other Experiments