GalleyCrush: The Malevolent Volume


Today’s GalleyCrush is Justin Phillip Reed’s The Malevolent Volume, forthcoming from Coffee House Press on April 7, 2020. 

Perfect pitch: “Subverting celebrated classics of poetry and mythology and examining horrors from contemporary film and cultural fact, National Book Award–winner Justin Phillip Reed engages darkness as an aesthetic to conjure the revenant animus that lurks beneath the exploited civilities of marginalized people.” 

First lines: “There it goes, thin thing, / cheshiring between trees / whose reaper-robes trail / their trains deep underground: / your life, hangin out // like an exposure. Easy now.”

Big blurb: “I’d quote a few of the breathtaking detonations across this incredible collection if there weren’t so many. On every page the intimacies of mind and body, myth and memory are simultaneously sung and said. It’s not quite enough to salute the literary ties and tangles, the range and urgency of subjects, the layered lyric linguistics. The Malevolent Volume is roundly astounding. Reed is making a new and wholly irreducible line through the waters of American poetry.” —Terrance Hayes

Book notes: Paperback Original, poetry, 104 pages.  

Author bio: Justin Phillip Reed is an American poet and essayist. He is the author of Indecency (Coffee House Press), winner of the 2018 National Book Award for Poetry and Lambda Literary Award for Poetry, and a finalist for the 2019 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. He is the 2019–21 Fellow in Creative Writing at the Center for African American Poetry and Poetics. His work appears in African American Review, Denver Quarterly, Guernica, the New Republic, Obsidian, and elsewhere. He earned his BA in creative writing at Tusculum College and his MFA in poetry at Washington University in St. Louis. He has received fellowships from the Cave Canem Foundation, the Conversation Literary Festival, La Maison Baldwin, and the Regional Arts Commission of St. Louis. He was born and raised in South Carolina.