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Mosquito: Poems (Tin House New Voice)by Alex Lemon
Synopses & Reviews
Lyrical and explosive, this debut book of poetry explores Alex Lemon's experiences as a brain surgery patient. Mosquito blends autobiography and poetry, bearing witness to a young man's journey through serious illness and his emergence into a world where eroticism, hope, and wisdom allow him to see life in a wholly new way. Mosquito is a resilient meditation that is as much Zen as it is explosive, as clinical as it is philosophical and lyrical.
"[S]tartlingly raw and raucous....Reading these poems is like having your five senses turned up to an almost unbearable volume....Lemon's ardent search for beauty and mercy in Mosquito is transformative and true." Matthea Harvey, author of Sad Little Breathing Machine: Poems
"Broken and brilliant, protean and written in blood, these poems are missives from the other side, the should-have-almost-died side, the burning-but-not-consumed side, and all Alex Lemon offers to console us are 'the nails on [his] tongue.' Mosquito introduces a thrilling new voice in American poetry." Nick Flynn, author of Another Bullshit Night in Suck City
"In these days of vast changes in American poetry, it is a joy to read the work of Alex Lemon. His poems pull the reader into a world of familiarities, while they confront daily experience in totally surprising ways. Mosquito means there is something there, so you better grab it before it disappears or becomes something else. It also means the vibrancy of these poems comes from the union between the microscopic and the panoramic — that focus of vision most poets spend a lifetime exploring. To show this kind of confidence and sense of direction means we have a major young poet on our hands. And, for poetry, that is the most vital gift it can receive." Ray Gonzalez, author of Consideration of the Guitar: New and Selected Poems
"The poems in Alex Lemon’s striking first book document the experience of undergoing brain surgery, an agonizing recovery, and the sudden discovery of Eros, who finally emerges as the ultimate emblem of survival. Careful yet raw, the fresh sutures that comprise the lines in many of these poems sing of pain so sharply as to verge on ethereal." Cate Marvin, Ploughshares
"With its popping language, lucid narrative and striking imagery, Lemon seems to have greedily plundered the entire scope of contemporary poetry for what may be one of the most solid book debuts in years." Todd Dillard, Pebble Lake Review
"His speakers are unrelenting in their quest to remain focused on life’s true and pure moments despite, or rather because of, their fear. Alex Lemon’s poems instruct us to hold onto these experiences and keep them close to us." Michael Levan, Third Coast
In the tradition of Audre Lordes The Cancer Notebooks and works by Lucia Perillo, Linda Gregg, and Jane Kenyon, Mosquito uses a literary format as a way to deal with serious illness and recovery. Lemon underwent brain surgery as a young man, and Mosquito turns that life-changing event into a vibrantly imagistic, poetic autobiography. The book is arranged in four parts. The first part tracks the emotional journey of the speaker during a grave illness, meditating unsentimentally on the grim details of hospitalization and surgery. Part two expands into the speakers erotic life, plunging into sexuality as a realm that resonates with both life and death. The last two parts explore the speakers world, historical and familial, as he is transformed by his trials. Lemons magnum opus is an anguished, observant, and resilient meditation as much zen as it is explosive, as clinical as it is philosophical and lyrical.
About the Author
Alex Lemon's poems have appeared or are forthcoming in numerous magazines including Tin House, Denver Quarterly, AGNI, Black Warrior Review, Gulf Coast, Indiana Review, Pleiades, Post Road, Swink, and Washington Square. His translations (with Wang Ping) of a number of contemporary Chinese poets are forthcoming in Tin House, New American Writing and other journals. Among his awards is a 2005 Literature Fellowship in Poetry from the National Endowment for the Arts. Alex is a frequent contributor to the Bloomsbury Review. Currently, he teaches at Macalester College in St. Paul, Minnesota.
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