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Poets Diannely Antigua (Ugly Music) and Brandon Courtney (This, Sisyphus), pop-up in the Portland Art Museum galleries with their poetry collections, out from YesYes Books this year.
Antigua and Courtney are paired with the artwork Allegory of Poetry by Jean François de Troy; found in the European Art Gallery, on the 2nd floor of the Portland Art Museum. Please reference the Portland Art Museum Map to find this location.
About Ugly Music: Diannely Antigua’s debut collection Ugly Music is a cacophonous symphony of reality, dream, trauma, and obsession. It reaches into the corners of love and loss where survival and surrender are blurred. The poems span a traumatic early childhood, a religious adolescence, and later a womanhood that grapples with learning how to create an identity informed by, yet in spite of, those challenges. What follows is an exquisitely vulgar voice, unafraid to draw attention to the distasteful, to speak a truth created by a collage of song and confession, diary and praise. It is an account of observation and dissociation, the danger of simultaneously being inside and outside the experiences that mold a life. Ugly Music emerges as a story of witness, a realization that even the strangest things exist on earth and deserve to live. … -Catherine Barnett, author of Human Hours
About This, Sisyphus: Metaphysical in scope, transcendent in language, This, Sisyphus makes malleable received forms and rhyme to articulate what it means to face incalculable loss. Centered on the death and subsequent repatriation of a sailor who was the author’s lover and closest friend, this collection moves beyond elegiac gestalt, questioning instead a God who created an imperfect world in which death is possible and inevitable. Composed of four sections, This, Sisyphus is a rejection of Leibniz’s “best possible world,” and, more importantly, it is the author’s transubstantiated epiphany that, ultimately, in tragedy and suffering, we have only each other.
Whether wrestling God or trying to make sense and sound out of grief, Brandon Courtney’s This, Sisyphus is a bright, urgent addition to the elegiac canon. My lord, folks, the language Courtney has found here interrupted me. Such a deep well of grief matched with such a high zenith of lyric, just as it should be. Written exquisitely and vulnerably, this is a book for anyone seeking to wander back towards the light after travelling through Death’s valley. -Danez Smith, author of Don’t Call Us Dead and [insert] boy