By Liz Bowen
16.99 | September 2022
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Read Selections from Compassion Fountain published at Dream Pop Press online
Bowen’s Compassion Fountain makes apparent that self-containment is less than myth, it is a fucking joke. And rather than vessels for love and light, our selves are bags constituted by fluid that sweeps and seeps with forceful fingers when our “blood lockers” are nicked, torn, or burst open. Nothing is left pure within this liquid mingling, it is a collage of conversations, reading, principles, and experiences. All the arrogance about the strength in our surfaces could splatter at the smallest prick. Bowen’s poetry does not compromise on the realities of classism, ableism, sexism, or racism, nor on the hypocrisies of institutions that propagandize their own refuge while exploiting and corrupting the physical bodies that must hold up the realm of values. Families, schools, workplaces, relationships, political and social identities—all these little villages that think they are so durable and all their members so compliant—Bowen’s writing floods through them all with the knowledge that what is contained can always be stronger than the container.
Liz Bowen’s COMPASSION FOUNTAIN invents a cyborg poetics of chronic illness and radical feminism. The book is hot with desire and reminds me of Helene Cixous, “If my desire is possible, it means the system is already letting something else through.” Systems of oppression here, such as “these offices / where married men / fuck their grad students,” are named by a speaker whose desire is not just possible, but palpable and colossal. This book is major and invites new cyborgs and cripborgs and survivors to write our desires.
-THE CYBORG JILLIAN WEISE
About the Author
Liz Bowen is a disabled poet, critic, and teacher. She is the author of the poetry collections Sugarblood and Compassion Fountain. Since finishing her PhD in English literature at Columbia University, Bowen has been a postdoctoral fellow at the bioethics research institute the Hastings Center, where she works at the intersections of disability studies, the environmental humanities, and health justice. She is also the senior poetry editor at Peach Mag and the disability section editor for Public Books. She lives in New York, which she has called home for the last 15 years, with her partner and an aging pit bull named Rose.