Some books begin as a dare to the self. Marianne Boruch’s newest collection, Cadaver, Speak, is an unsettling double, a heart of two chambers. The first half is attuned to history—how time hits us, and grief—and to art and its making. The second half, the title sequence, is spoken by a ninety-nine-year-old who donated her body for dissection by medical students, a laboratory experience in which the poet, duly silenced, was privileged to take part. Born from lyric impulse, which is Boruch’s scalpel, her work examines love, death, beauty, and knowledge—the great subjects of poetry made new by a riveting reimagining.
“Send a poet like Boruch to work in a cadaver lab and extraordinary poems come to life.” —Publishers Weekly
“Marianne Boruch’s work has the wonderful, commanding power of true attention: she sees and considers with intensity.” —Washington Post
“Boruch has always been a poet driven by curiosity, turning her wry, quizzical gaze on the ordinary world in order to uncover its essential strangeness, but this thematic focus takes her even farther in that direction… Boruch’s great achievement in this book, it seems to me, is how fully and precisely she engages the mysteries of consciousness and its relation to the body without foreclosing on any of its possibilities. When cadavers speak, we should listen.” —FIELD