My book The Fat Sonnets is now available for preorder over at the Argos Books website. Click here to get your copy!
Advanced Praise for The Fat Sonnets:
“According to the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation, over 75% of adult men and 60% of adult women in the U.S. are overweight. According to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention, over one-third of all U.S. adults are obese. As a country, as a culture, we are, in a word, fat. Marketdata Research, a market research firm, tells us that we spend in excess of $60 billion annually in desperate effort not to be. We sometimes succeed, but often only briefly. Mostly, we fail. We stay fat, each of us in response to a complex of genetic and environmental factors as distinctive as our fingerprints. But the commonality of our fatness has not raised awareness of its causes or brought about acceptance or even tolerance. On the contrary: we live in a fat-phobic, fat-stigmatizing society, and Samantha Zighelboim is calling us out. “Fat people are / the most visible invisibles,” she writes in The Fat Sonnets, one of the boldest, most affecting, and most necessary debuts in recent memory. The heart at work in these poems is “so big a person / could swim through / our arteries,” but it is also divided against itself, vacillating between self-loathing and self-celebration, both determined to seek its pleasures and to punish itself for having them. These poems are brutally candid, plangent, heart-wrenching, uncompromisingly beautiful and beautiful in their refusal to compromise, and they are also playful, provocative, impeccably edited, formally inventive and outrageously funny. Moreover, as specific as The Fat Sonnets is in its concerns, it also reveals Zighelboim to be an astute observer of the human subject generally: of how we are both determined and distorted by societal and material forces; of how we might prove nothing more than, but are never simply, our bodies; and of how those of us who can’t, or won’t, conform to the prevailing human paradigms of success can find profound, sustaining identifications elsewhere, even outside our messed-up species, as with the giant squid or blue whale. “(L)et me age and die / as gracelessly as possible,” she writes, “Like the trunk of an ancient / giant sequoia / gnarled and wrinkled and fat.” That sounds like winning to me. And that’s what this book is: not merely an achievement, but a victory.”