This fearless debut transcends the obscene with its self-conscious probing of sexual identity. Navigating each line with a tender awareness and a luminous honesty, Angelo Nikolopoulos exposes the complex worlds of forbidden desire and vulnerability. His lyric poems boldly defy social norms with their uninhibited passion for revealing the tangled intricacies of beauty and shame.
From "Take the Body Out":
But I love the body.
Even before the arm and leg buds appeared
in the fifth week after they made me
inside the mouth’s outline
my tongue’s rough draft
where I’d first learn pleasure and need
through the lips in sequence
liquids before solids, milk before steel-tip
and split pea soup, cotton-edged quilt
to stubbled frame of mouth.
I love the body
bookended by introduction and conclusion
where we learned in high school
to imbed our details:
in his beech-blond desk bored with Pythagoras
he’d lean forward
and I’d love the body that wasn’t mine
Angelo Nikolopoulos was raised in California and is a graduate of New York University’s creative writing program. His poems have appeared in Best New Poets 2011, Boston Review, Los Angeles Review, New York Quarterly, North American Review, Tin House, and elsewhere. He was the recipient of the 2011 Discovery/Boston Review prize for poetry and has taught creative writing at several institutions, including New York University and Rutgers University. He lives in New York City.