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We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite

We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite

By Conyer Clayton

Winner of the 2021 Ottawa Book Award for English Fiction

In her debut collection of poetry, Conyer Clayton hovers in the ether, grasping wildly for a fleeting sense of certitude. Through experiences with addiction and co-dependence, sex and art, nature and death, she grapples for transcendence while exploring what it means to disengage. What is revealed when you allow yourself to truly feel? What do you ask for to carry you into life, and where do you land when this fails? And when you are finally, beautifully, emptied out, who are you? The poems in We Shed Our Skin Like Dynamite wonder aloud amidst tangled revelations, and yearn to be lifted away.


Guernica Editions (First Poets Series)


78 pages |

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The poems in this stunning debut construct a world by colliding its sharpest angles. Instead of an orderly pastoral landscape, Clayton gives us ?a pasture / with a rusted tractor.? Instead of happily-ever-after, we get ?ruins of rock, the frantic mess / we made.? These poems manage to wrench beauty from loss, absence, departure?the various goodbyes that transition us along our individual paths. In this book, Clayton?s speaker emerges from the darkness of grief into ?the space between / earth and sky,? a realm of generous possibility, where poetry begins. ?Kiki Petrosino, Author of Witch Wife and Hymn for the Black Terrific

Conyer Clayton?s rich, unpredictable lines are imbued with the transformational traces and scars that humans, nature, and contraptions leave on one another. Vivid sounds and images stagger Plinko-like through these deeply personal poems that display both murmuration and volatility. This is a book that resonates. ?Stuart Ross, author of Motel of the Opp


ReLit Awards for Poetry

Ottawa Book Awards

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