Rock | Salt | Stone by Rosamond S. King


“Nation language, langage poetry, prose poems, spells, Caribbean nancy stories, queer issues, Rock|Salt|Stone, African (Yoruba) systems and ancestral memory all find a place in Rosamond S. King’s multiplicity of forms. The embodied quality of the poems and King’s willingness to confront the inherent difficulty of relationship with the Other, who is always us, grounds the work in a somatic poetics that demands the reader pay attention”
—M. NourbSe Philip

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“Because bodies are not rocks but get weighed down by them when tossed into the ocean to drown. Because bodies are not consumed by mouths but are covered in salty sweat and can be beaten like meat. Because bodies have mouths but can not always speak without being stoned and sometimes the mouths make the wrong shapes and so the bodies become demons then ghosts then demons then ghosts again. Because the bodies wash up on the shore and wash up still. Because all things that are life become death like water or salt or stone or rock or other bodies and when not all the bodies fit together huddled on the rock, and so as some bodies cling to the hard surface with their bruised fingers and open mouths, other bodies shove those bodies off, without blinking, because blinking would be memory, and here, in the unraveling hardness and conjuration of demons, memory is not always honest and words are not always true.”
—Janice Lee
“King (Island Bodies), an accomplished scholar and performer, opens her formally daring verse debut with a version of “My Bonnie Lies over the Ocean,” recasting it to address Afro-Caribbean diasporas, and starring Yoruba deities Eshu, Oshun, and Ogun. “My brawn it belongs to the Ogun/ my blood it flows into the sea/ the two meet inside a black body/ and whisper you fight to be free,” runs one of several verses before the newly meaningful call to “Bring/ Back.” It is representative of several defining elements of the book, among them a deep engagement with history and mythology, a sense of play, and formal techniques that require the reader to hear—not just read—the poem…King uses English while writing beyond and against the bounds of its conventions, and also to foreground the speaking, hearing body—and importantly, the black, queer, female body—as the site where language originates and lands.”
—Publishers Weekly
Rock | Salt | Stone by Rosamond S. King