Poetry, paperback, 112 pages, from YesYes Books.
The poems in Landscape with Sex and Violence explore what it means to exist within a rape culture so entrenched that it can’t be separated from the physical landscapes in which it enacts itself. Lyrically complex and startling—yet forthright and unflinching— these poems address rape, abortion, sex work, and other subjects frequently omitted from male-dominated literary traditions, without forsaking the pleasures of being embodied, or the value of personal freedom, of moonlight, and of hope. Throughout, the topography and mythology of California, as well as the uses and failures of language itself, are players in what it means to be a woman, a sexual being, and a trauma survivor in contemporary America.
"[A] fierce new collection ... It would be easy to call these poems brave, tough, and angry but fairer to say that Melnick has gone beyond to a cool, critical assessment of moments that define women's lives."
"In Landscape with Sex and Violence, Melnick writes in part to show rape culture as unambiguous, to reveal misogyny’s normalization as absurd, and to defy those who ask about a victim’s 'role in the incident.' But she mines complexity by grounding these poems in the survivor’s mental strategies... Melnick represents two related dimensions of rape culture: that it is a constant feature of the world in which one lives, and that it changes the way one sees that world."
Lynn Melnick is the author of Landscape with Sex and Violence (2017), If I Should Say I Have Hope (2012), and the co-editor of Please Excuse This Poem: 100 Poets for the Next Generation (2015). Her poetry has appeared in APR, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The Paris Review, A Public Space, and elsewhere, and she has written essays and book reviews for Boston Review, LA Review of Books, and Poetry Daily, among others. A 2017-2018 fellow at the New York Public Library’s Cullman Center for Scholars and Writers, she teaches poetry at the 92Y and serves on the Executive Board of VIDA: Women in Literary Arts. Born in Indianapolis, she grew up in Los Angeles and currently lives in Brooklyn.