Landscape with Sex and Violence: Poems by Lynn Melnick


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.

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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.”—Library Journal

“Melnick explores rape culture as it intertwines with surrounding environments, and though at times the poetry is so raw your skin feels non-existent, these words are much needed. She writes about sex work, abortion, rape, the female body—stories and topics that need to be voiced and visible and out in the open. But the poems also contain hope, and love, and physical pleasure.”—Book Riot

“The speaker unflinchingly dismantles idyllic, cultivated landscapes in favor of revealing those where ‘crop hangs over gates into dumpsters’ and she ‘used half a citrus to demonstrate/ what you could do to my cunt.’ Over and over, the speaker creates these sharp, distinct and unforgettable images, even when others attempt to render her powerless, or silence her, or leave her to the fog…”—Kenyon Review

“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.”—Boston Review

Landscape with Sex and Violence: Poems by Lynn Melnick