Anna van Valkenburg’s debut poetry collection, Queen and Carcass, is a rich, unpredictable, and deeply surreal exploration of identity and the contradictions we embody. These poems, set in locations real and imaginary, magical and banal, inhabited by figures out of Slavic folklore and a Boschian landscape, strive to unearth truths—especially those that are difficult or uncomfortable. At once ecstatic, meditative, and grotesque, these poems confront some of the most fundamental existential questions.
A FEED DOG BOOK
“As its title suggests, the poems in Queen and Carcass are ripe with the dark and majestic marvels of the folk tale, where the world and its objects—even its ideas—are alive with survival and death, their beautiful, troubled, wise, and wry confidences, ‘the smell of dust and shrapnel/in place of the stars.’ To live and to listen, to write and to notice is a victory and a celebration. This book is a world, resilient yet flexible, ancient yet present as the woods.” —Gary Barwin, author of For It Is a Pleasure and a Surprise to Breathe
“The poems in Queen and Carcass take inspiration from the tale of Rusalka—the gracile water-sprite of Dvorák’s opera—to weave a keen, beguiling lyric of girl becoming woman, lover, Human/Other, and mother. The register is personal, performative, seductive, the poems more urgent than sweet. A stunning debut collection.” —Elana Wolff, author of Swoon
“Anna van Valkenburg’s attentiveness to the sumptuous strangeness of fairy tales and to the haunting landscapes of folk tales imbues her poems with audacious imagery. Her syntax is propulsive but also rich with muscular pauses. Queen and Carcass makes visible how collective memory—familial, cultural, national—shapes imagination, how it forges language that illuminates the uncanny. It’s a terrific debut.” —Eduardo C. Corral, author of Guillotine
Anna van Valkenburg was born in Konin, Poland, and currently lives in Mississauga. Her poetry and reviews have been featured in The Puritan, Prism International, december magazine, The Rusty Toque, and elsewhere. Her work has been shortlisted for the Pangolin Poetry Prize and nominated for the AWP Intro Journals Project. Anna is the associate publisher at Guernica Editions. Queen and Carcass is her first poetry collection.