Trembling Pillow Press

The Boneyard, The Birth Manual, A Burial: Investigations Into The Heartland

by Julia Madsen 

$16.00 | October 2018

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ISBN-13: 978-1-7323647-0-7

This utterly stunning debut, as its title tells us, is part manual, part investigation. Into the Heartland, into “our dark hearts.”  It is “a book of occasions”: part documentary, part allegory—both at once—in which “dream-installments” coincide with real documents, the silence of sleepy farmland with the immiserated bodies and voices that work it. They tell you, because this book lets you hear them: “After a time, you see what happens.”  Given “[t]he fact that we get so little and need so much,” the question that both animates and haunts this book is “how well / you survive.” You will find yourself here in “the faraway” you can’t get away from, “the bygone” that never really goes. Being in this book’s grasp is like a memory both inescapable and just out of reach, a gruesome scene you want to unsee and yet cannot look away from. This book throws into brutal and beautiful relief what it looks like to survive a lack, an unremitted absence, the cost of what we are not paid, into which we are born and have to bear. It is a powerful, essential book. So “hold out your hands,” step into “the blue light / of premonition” that this book has patiently and generously prepared for you, read it, and “take notes.” – Jane Gregory, author of My Enemies and Yeah No

What connects capitalism and everything else? Meat. Julia Madsen’s language sees the reasons and hears the reasons. Her language divines the traces remaining in the rust-blooded wake of the reasons. And also: I feel this book as a psalter. A meat psalter: a psalter for where machines, landscapes, and bodies conjunct. It is a powerful book and I am grateful it is in the world. ­– Selah Saterstrom, author of Slab and Ideal Suggestions

This book ripped me the hell open. I felt like these poems written with dirt, bones, blood, and rust were my own forgotten memories that came rushing back into my wound. Sometimes I was afraid to turn the page, but I kept going because I had to, because that’s our lives, our people, our places. Julia Madsen puts us on notice while showing us how to be caring and gracious by sitting and attending to these ignored voices and landscapes that are burdened by clinging to/giving life. ­– Steven Dunn, author of Potted Meat

About the Author

Julia Madsen

Julia Madsen is a multimedia poet and educator. She received an MFA in Literary Arts from Brown University and is a doctoral student in English/Creative Writing at the University of Denver. She is the video editor at Reality Beach, and her poems and multimedia work have appeared or are forthcoming in jubilat, Black Warrior Review, Caketrain, Alice Blue Review, Drunken Boat, Flag+Void, Word for/Word, Cloud Rodeo, Small Po[r]tions, Deluge, Dreginald, Tagvverk, La Vague Journal, Devil’s Lake, Versal, Cartridge Lit, CutBank, Dream Pop Press, and elsewhere.