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The Taxidermist's Cut
Rajiv Mohabir

Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry

Four Way
2016 • 112 pp. 6 x 9"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-935536-72-7

“Rajiv Mohabir’s debut collection is electric with fierce love—animal, erotic, obliterating—the hard and soft always bruising and buffing each other…. This new voice is primal, essential….”—Brenda Shaughnessy, Judge of Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry

A survival guide that shows how bigotry and redemption are mapped on the psyche and on the body

The Taxidermist’s Cut is a collection that centers the pressures of being a queer brown youth awakening sexually in a racist, anti-immigrant matrix. As an Indo-Caribbean, the queer-countried speaker is illegible as an “Indian” as well as an “American.” Haunted by his migration narrative, the speaker tries to make himself fit into his environment by sloughing off his skin and stretching new ones over his body. At stake here is surviving a palimpsest of violence: violences enacted upon the speaker and violences the speaker enacts upon himself through cutting. Mohabir engages with the body and the land as a series of incisions and overlays to cover the damage of memory of a South Asian brown body dealing with aggressions and joys. This is a collection of twisted love stories-as-slits that exposes the meat and bone of trauma and relief. Drawing from outside source texts such as animal tracking guides and taxidermy manuals, these poems attempt to show the process of how to survive being erased on all fronts.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

"In his excellent debut, Mohabir exposes desire and inner turmoil through the measured incantations of a queer, Indian-American voice that refuses the burdens of a homophobic and racist world. He eloquently describes how the brown body survives, clinging vigilantly to longing, lust, and love.”
Publishers Weekly (starred review)

“These intoxicating pieces puncture the boundaries of identity with the unflinching grip needed to repurpose the tough hide of a carcass.” —Shelf Awareness

From the Book:

He lies naked with another boy in a clearing
of palmettos and sand pines.

They touch each other
with rabbit skin gloves.

Today: the odium of salt and pheromones.
To erase himself he rubs the ashes

on his arms and chest. Outside an
Eastern Cottontail hides three kits….

RAJIV MOHABIR is the winner of the 2015 AWP Intro Journal Award and the Four Way Books Intro Prize in Poetry, and has received multiple fellowships. He is currently pursuing a PhD in English from the University of Hawaii.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:28:49 -0500