The Atlas Review


Selfless, a chapbook by Zoe Dzunko

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Turn the pages of Selfless and you'll find yourself grimacing at the systems of body. More pointedly, the ways culture and society have failed to lighten the load on the body-ness of women's bodies. Ergo we are set up to fail as we lighten. Zoe Dzunko is a poet of magnificent range, one who can brutalize prosody with a couplet exchange like Selfless's opening poem "The Impossible, III": "The time you fucked / my face it felt like a feather." The deadening exactitude of that period only magnifies her world-weary wretchedness, achieving in its muscular reaches, a new center of gravity. In this manner, it performs a cheeky dance of selfie selflessness.

Dzunko is a poet of certainty, stealthy in her line work, always throwing down the gauntlet on her psychic pain. She dismembers her body as she checks her lips for smudge marks. Dzunko smirks at the department store industrial complex, elevating the material wrongs into terrific philosophical folly. She writes, "Nature’s weird trick / is to force division in the // wrong places." She writes, "Present knowledge tells us that / When girls go missing we find their tulle / Stuffed inside dumpsters out back / Greying and spotted with body." This bursting, Latinate refusal-lyric dismantles any notion of calm. Here is a poet who tells us at her most guttural her history of disappearance and at her most exquisite why she always wanted to be invisible. It is a devastating chapbook capable too of healing.

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Cover design by Emily Raw
Featured broadside designed by Natalie Eilbert
Promo image by Tom Oristaglio