by Divya Victor
$16.00 | November 2014
Also available on Amazon and SPD
Winner of the 2014 Bob Kaufman Book Prize
Selected by Anselm Berrigan
“May I see your passport, please?” What are you a citizen of? What subject to? Are you natural or naturalized? What have you sworn to and will you tell true? Divya Victor, true to form in wit and poetic acuteness, has made a book about nations, nationality, and their notions by showing documents, facts, fictional and real heroines, instructions for assembly, and lyric lists that makes readers acknowledge their own disassembly, distribution, and/ or dispersal in an on-going diaspora. This acute work by Victor teases civic ideologies in all their motley, pervasive constructions by writing from multiple subjectivities and engineering defiance, struggles with agency, language play, appropriated commentaries, and revelations of loss. A multi-faceted book of high interest.
Rachel Blau DuPlessis, author of Drafts
A mandala of homeland motifs and constellations that are numbered but not named bursts, at the start of Divya Victor’s strangely painful and real new book, to reveal: talons, attempts, a “pose.” These initiating frames take us through a naturalization process – from the gathering of biometric data to the duplex-pomegranate-linoleum reverie of the pledge ceremony itself. Questions of “exit” and “enunciation” accrue a “blunt hum” as the book progresses. Lit from within by an “opal glass shade” or the “violent and excited” intake. Yet never clarified. Here, for example, is Dimple Kapadia, taking the stage like late onset “logopoeia.” Are you a “great scholar”? Are you a “lover”? Did you make your home in the trampled lot behind the Edison IKEA? Did you “maybe write things”? Victor has written a book that is both heart-breaking and a brilliant, effervescent and dark joke.
Bhanu Kapil, author of Schizophrene.
Divya Victor’s Natural Subjects, a tough-minded, audaciously structured, & subtly open-ended poem, closes in on the naturalization process by locating the small but bureaucratically nebulous frame of the passport photo and opening up the multi-layered points of stress and dislocated violence that frame marks. But that only gets at a little bit of what Natural Subjects does. I register things like an offhand cubist tonality, a witty examination of scale, a spin of the frame to let character-versions of Eliza Doolittle, Hedda Gabbler, and fräulein Maria in, and the shaping of poetic material that comes from many sources without leaning on them. Nothing is telegraphed. The book keeps opening each time I pass through.
Anselm Berrigan, author of Notes from Irrelevance
About the Author
Divya Victor is the author of Things To Do With Your Mouth(Les Figues, 2014), Natural Subjects (Trembling Pillow, 2014), and Unsub (Insert/Blanc, 2015). She is also author of the Partial series (Troll Thread), Punch (2011), Goodbye John! On John Baldessari (2012), and Swift Taxidermies (2014), all from Gauss PDF; and the chapbook Hellocasts by Charles Reznikoff by Divya Victor by Vanessa Place (2011). She divides her time between the United States and Singapore, where she is Assistant Professor of Poetry and Poetics at Nanyang Technological University.
Felix Bernstein reviews Divya Victor’s Natural Subjects at Jacket2.
BookThug selects Natural Subjects for its 2015 Summer Reading List.
Other Books by this Author:
Things to Do with Your Mouth, Les Figues Press, 2014
UNSUB, Insert Blanc Press, 2015