Poetry, paperback, 104 pages, from YesYes Books.
This is a book of great beauty and of terrible suspicion regarding that beauty. This is a poet of intensifying linguistic gift and of terrible suspicion regarding that gift. Is there, yet, an Auto-Voyeuristic school of poetry? If not, then Jay Deshpande’s troubling and gorgeous Love the Stranger—“watch yourself grow muscle in your failure/and hate it”—could be the founding document.
-Josh Bell, No Planets Strike
Through the wide-eyed study of beauty and the eerie stations of the erotic, Love the Stranger maps the body in its struggle with desire and absence. Deshpande’s poems treat love, kinship, and loss as instruments of our own awakening—tools that can help us encounter our own mysteriousness and touch new ground. As they peer into childhood memory, the end of an affair, dream dismemberments, and even Kim Kardashian, the lyrics in Love the Stranger guide us toward the truths hidden within the body.
Jay Deshpande is the author of Love the Stranger (YesYes Books), named one of the top debuts of 2015 by Poets & Writers. He has received fellowships or support from Kundiman, Civitella Ranieri, Vermont Studio Center, Saltonstall Arts Colony, and the Key West Literary Seminar, where Billy Collins selected him for the 2015 Scotti Merrill Memorial Award. Poems have appeared in Boston Review, Narrative, The Offing, Prelude, the PEN Poetry Series, Poem-a-Day, and elsewhere. His journalism and essays have been published in Slate, The New Republic, and The Guardian, among others. He teaches at Columbia University and lives in Brooklyn.