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Topic: Roxanna Bennett

The (Dis)Placement of the Self: Roxanna Bennett’s The Untranslatable I

It’s been just over a year since I recovered from my last flare up—when I last spent the night in the emergency department, visiting nearby nurses offices, responding over the phone with my fluids in and out in ounces. It was also around this time that my review of Roxanna Bennett’s previous collection was published. And seeing my thoughts alongside their poetry—particularly at a time where I felt so unheard—I began to recognize that the more I experience pain, the more I gain access to new sets of meanings that are otherwise inaccessible.

Wringing a Soft Neck: Roxanna Bennett’s The Uncertainty Principle

Stripped down to only its domestic battle scenes, life is bloodier, more depraved and more terrifying than it is in real time. The violence and trauma of rape, child abuse, battery and addiction relentlessly advance through Roxanna Bennett’s The Uncertainty Principle without pause or breath or respite. The first half of the book is particularly harrowing as poems about sexual exploitation (“I’m everything you’ve wished for. You’re everything I suffer”) are followed by poems about vicious patriarchs (one “bounced the baby until his neck felt soft”), which are followed by poems about mental illness and hospitalization (“This one (symptom) naked in snow, / points the pistol of his fingers to his temple / blows out the hidden sickness”).