queer ecology

Evelyn Berry

don't be surprised: i'm a redneck wussy               moonshinesloppy with a limp wristtown crier sobbing on the street cornerthey'll get used to the lipsticksame like the scupadine's fleshsweet pulpI'm heresure as roadkill                 sure as O                                                  possum nightslick slurping bloodticksi'm everywhere                                   like a dandelion falling apartin the wind's embrace                     i'm haunting the family tree               born to this ecology          this bloodiedpatch of dirt                     go ahead spit me roadsidelike a boiled peanut shell sucked of saltcrown me queen of the chitlin strutdon't be surprised the ground's so fertileyoung queers been fucking in the fieldssince the first sin                                            first garden delightfirst adam's apple taken in the mouth                   first seed spilledif they bury enough wild queers in the dirtone's sure to sprout in their backyard

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Evelyn Berry (she/her) is a trans, Southern writer, editor, and educator. She’s the author of Grief Slut (Sundress Publications, 2024) and Buggery (Bateau Press, 2020), winner of the BOOM Chapbook Prize. She’s a recipient of a 2023 National Endowment for the Arts Poetry Fellowship. Her work has appeared in Beloit Poetry Journal, South Carolina Review, Gigantic Sequins, Moist, Taco Bell Quarterly, and elsewhere. She lives in Columbia, South Carolina.

Grief Slut is a feral, ode-mouthed debut, tawdry and raw as a picked scab. Each of Berry's poems is a small explosive mote of memory, steeped in the history and iconography of the rural queer South. This collection elevates high and low culture alike to the position of the sublime, Taco Bell and Caravaggio are given equal weight in these poems' lyric exploration. And even as these poems grapple with historical and ongoing attacks against trans rights, and the places we call sanctuary, Berry refuses to present a tidy and palatable version of transness, instead illuminating the gut-punch gorgeous mess of our lives.”
—torrin a. greathouse, author of Wound from the Mouth of a Wound

"Unflinching in its sensuality and brutality, Grief Slut exposes the paradoxical nature of queer life in the South. Required reading in an age of trans discrimination, Berry's lines will serve as balm and bulwark. exposing the joyous heartbreak of rural queerness."
—Sim Kern, author of The Free People's Village and Seeds From the Swarm

“Gorgeous & luxurious as couture the morning after the party, Evelyn Berry’s Grief Slut is a book-length aubade to the genderqueer self and body, to the South, to violence and desire and Baja Blast. Grief Slut is a riotously beautiful collection of poems, a love song to flesh and the experience of too muchness that is oh-so-human, oh-so-queer, and oh-so-Southern.”
—Han VanderHart, author of What Pecan Light

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