Pig: Poems

Scribner. Sept. 2023. 112p. ISBN 9781668019993. pap. $17. POETRY
While the subject of Sax’s third full-length collection (after bury it) is succinctly encapsulated in its title, the poems within expand their reach across a limitless range of human thought, history, endeavor, and identity, all filtered through an explicitly queer, Jewish sensibility. From “portrait of a drag queen with a pig nose” (who embodies “the perfected form of all our darkest literatures smiling”) through “xenotransplantation” (“my friend’s a vegan with a pig heart/ thumping club music”), Sax finds a shared porcine presence, whether it emerges in a virus (“n1 h1”) or in popular culture, as captured in a 1950s Life magazine photo (“james dean with pig”). Sax’s most incisive lines spring from disarming vulnerability (“for so long i would not touch myself/ for fear of finding a body”) and resistance against irresponsibly wielded power (“a corporation is a synonym for an individual who dreams in rare earth metals”).
VERDICT Some readers unfamiliar with Sax’s work may flinch at its unabashed sexuality, but the poet’s sharp humor, imaginative breadth, and risky candor are expertly tuned to the varieties of human experience.
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