The Taxidermist's Cut

Four Way. 2016. 112p. ISBN 9781935536727. pap. $15.95. POETRY
Winner of the Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry, Mohabir's cri-de-coeur first collection parallels the hunted animal and the hunted human, capturing the fierce, angry hurt of the "chasm within" as the speaker shields his love of men, remaining an outsider ("Every time you speak they hear a different hell") within a community that itself has outsider status ("At dusk, cry these spirits// into an old Hindi film"). The result is tough, fierce, hurtful, and erotic, less outwardly enraged than painfully self-referential. In the signature "Erasure," the clinically described dismembering of a dead animal echoes the speaker's own cut-up interior. "You spend your life eating darkness" he cries; "Take off your skin right here."
VERDICT Overall, the conception is effective and the language beautifully urgent without excess. For readers looking for the next leading poet.
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