Your Face My Flag

Julian Gewirtz

Forthcoming October 2022

Torn between intimacy and estrangement, eros and politics, history and futurity, Your Face My Flag is a riveting debut poetry collection. Gewirtz explores the place of poetry in a globalized era, shaped by escalating geopolitical tensions between China and “the West.” From the factories where iPhones are assembled to riverside idylls where men have long met for sex, these poems move restlessly across continents and through centuries. In a world that conspires to dull us against the particular, Gewirtz writes with sharp focus, recapturing memory and desire in stunning detail.

ISBN: 9781556596469

Format: Paperback

Spend

seven years inside no visitors and four hours traveling north for one
hour per month with him no more no
                                                                       phone calls four men watching always
just not the man you want      Last fall the fruit trees in the courtyard refuse
to ripen—In her verses there are no sounds none—spend a month between
chair and bed without sleep then

                                                                               two three four five catch
the infection from that skinny guard now it won’t shake—in my eyes
he has always been and will always be an awkward diligent poet—That summer of
crackdown nearly thirty years ago I

                                                                                     bought a bag of apples
one’s malformed tumorous a second head almost a second whole self
inside pushing out skin bulging near breaking—

                                                                        Travel four hours north

for one hour per month with him no more. Never. Four men watching always
just not the man you want.

About the Author

Julian Gewirtz’s poems have appeared in the Best American Poetry, Boston Review, Lambda Literary, The Nation, The New Republic, PEN America, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, and elsewhere. He is also the author of two books on the history of modern China, Never Turn Back: China and the Forbidden History of the 1980s and Unlikely Partners (“a gripping read” –The Economist). He co-edited an issue of Logic Magazine on China and technology and has written essays and reviews for publications including the New York Times, The Guardian, Harper’s, Foreign Affairs, Prac Crit, and Parnassus: Poetry in Review. He previously served …

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Reviews

“In a collection that’s vividly detailed and layered, Gewirtz proves to be a wonderful storyteller, covering a wide range of subjects and frequently addressing social justice issues. Recommended for all collections.” — Library Journal

The new world was my husband,” writes Julian Gewirtz, “…like a surgeon specializing in the removal of voice.” These poems are uneasy relations between superpowers, studies in diplomacy and international trade made personal. Their sweep is historical; tone, erotic; mind, vast. In a world of invasive policing and artificial intelligence, Gewirtz makes a passionate case for our fragile human selves. It is an enchanting and affirming sensibility at work. –D.A. Powell, author of Useless Landscape, or A Guide for Boys

“Gewirtz’s courageous collection of poems spans history, memory, and desire. It invents a language to describe the injustice and cruelty below the surface of the global economy and restore a humanity to its victims. These deep and allusive poems, in dialogue with Shakespeare and Whitman, are at the same time unflinchingly attentive to the present moment and what Gewirtz calls ‘history on the loose’. Ultimately, his poems express what it might mean to be a human and a citizen in a world driven by the forces of unchecked technological advancement.”—Xiaolu Guo, author of the National Book Critics Circle Award-winning Nine Continents

“There’s astonishing range to Julian Gewirtz’s Your Face My Flag, from technology’s dehumanizing fallout to the weaponizing of the weather itself, from the history of relations between China and the West to sexual cruising. The poems explore the blur of desire and politics, of intimacy and empire, and in so doing, they make not just a space for the erotic but an argument for the erotic as strange restive haven, as permission: ‘Everyone who loves me/begs me not to do/the dangerous thing.//Only you would let me.’ I’m grateful for that—grateful, too, for the risks and provocations to which Gewirtz invites us in this resonant debut.”—Carl Phillips, author of Then the War: And Selected Poems, 2007–2020

“Your Face My Flag is inflected with the inescapable desires that pulse through political urgencies, the contradictions in the laws of love, a self-aware lyric position. He writes “To use a man for his shadow/ is to make a thing of him,” a line that encapsulates the tender attention and thoughtfulness he brings to this complex subject.” –Carmen Gimenez Smith, author of Be Recorder