Author: Staff

Gabrielle Bates: “Sexy & Self-Quarrelsome”—On Zoe Dzunko’s Selfless

Selfless Zoe Dzunko TAR Chapbook Series, 2016 Yeats proposes that poetry springs from a quarrel with the self, and in Zoe Dzunko’s chapbook Selfless, this inciting act is present in the poems’ final iterations. Expectation and limitation—Dzunko brings to life the internal push and pull of both. The speaker slides in and out of her female bodies and all the expectations—socially prescribed, historically mandated, deeply absorbed—that come with them. By proclaiming the self’s absence in the title, the poet establishes a central, paradoxical desire the poems use as kindling. Selfless’s constant, cerebral burn flares thrillingly in the first short sentence: The time you fucked my face it felt like a feather. Profane and lovely, bodily and abstract, human and animal—as Dzunko continues to pair such dichotomies together, the lines between them blur. At once violent and delicate, the speaker becomes, over the course of the book, a vessel inside which contrasting entities battle, swap fluids, and fuse. Time, fucked. Feather, face. When I say this slim volume offers up, poem after poem, a violently sexy …