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Writing Your Name on the Glass

Editors’ selection, 2018 Frost Place Chapbook Contest

Order: Bull City Press // Small Press Distribution // Amazon

Reviewed at The Poetry Question.

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Writing Your Name on the Glass reckons with the duration of memory and the peculiarities of the present, tackling what it means to be both beloved and also subject to love’s grasp. Joining the poetics of the queer south, Jim Whiteside furthers the conversation about identity, place, and desire in contemporary queer relationships. These poems document the process of reassembling broken pieces and finding one’s voice again.

Jim Whiteside’s poems are full of “un-pinnable, un-cageable” things: a graveyard, a greenhouse, the lover’s body. To say Writing Your Name on the Glass is a moving debut is to consider the motion the poems make: when Whiteside writes of fanblades, we feel both the delicacy of the paper unfurling and the air sharply cut into shape. These are poems to clutch: feathery, fighting and bright. —Beth Bachmann, author of CEASE.

Jim Whiteside’s poems chronicle the mysteries of self and world, rendering the uncanny beauty of what fades and what persists. A book of “the broken body,” Writing Your Name on the Glass explores love and desire in all its conflict and complexity, fusing longing and loss into poems that are fiercely delicate, “a lost gospel / preaching wildness.” —Bruce Snider, author of Paradise, Indiana.

Intensely lyrical and fiercely loving, the poems in Jim Whiteside’s chapbook Writing Your Name on the Glass convey the ache of desire and the tension of passion and restraint in a manner both classical and contemporary. With a precision of imagery, action, and music, Whiteside crafts every line right. These vivid and memorable poems introduce a powerful new voice in American letters. —Stuart Dischell, author of Children with Enemies.