Bent at the Spine offers a ‘pronoun’-ced frolic where the “you” is a disconnected third party—the reader is left in the position of an eavesdropper, or a listener, or a karmasurplus author. Its relentless interrogation resonates at an invigorating pace: cultural difference, different bodies, diffident accents, deafening rhymes. Sometimes rapturous, often vulvy, the poems audaciously teach “you” how to read them, allowing the last-minute-cram-session to be a delving, a plunging, a repeating discovery.
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Praise for Nicole Markotić:
“The agile poems in Markotić’s Bent at the Spine are nerve-knotted corridors that ail, salve, flail and laugh. They seem stand-up, until I realize they sprawl, a little languid, grinning with all the fun they’re having. Her words being vertebral can pop out of place; Markotić vents them, also prods alignment back stride-ready. She’s a writer uniquely edgy about the connectedness of how meaning-matches made by bodies crash and reunify. Her stanzas take their corners tight and thread along to an always-next torque. This book’s bent all right. Its spine’s a duffled gift.” —Margaret Christakos
“[Shows] the bland ways we typically use language by exhibiting its strange potential …. The pace of the book is a rush, as Markotić continually turns things around to alter any easy perception.” —Jacqueline Turner, The Georgia Straight
“Markotić’s work exhibits a trickster quality in that she steals language and then returns it in altered forms. Her intertextual links rework language within the poem and provide a way of listening attentively to the world.” — Tammy Armstrong, Numero Cinq
“Bent at the Spine asks a lot of its readers … but it gives a lot in return—that pleasure of the text in heightened form most of all. That gorgeous cover promises much and Bent at the Spine delivers.” —Douglas Barbour
“Markotić bends language at the spine, to its breaking point.” —Jonathan Ball, Winnipeg Free Press
“Nicole Markotić has created a work of extravagant speech in Bent at the Spine. As her title implies, the book is broken, the back contorted, yet the body of language is recombined in new and surprising forms. In the tradition of Gertrude Stein’s Tender Buttons or Harryette Mullen’s Muse and Drudge, Markotić’s book offers the pleasures of close listening and uncanny seeing. Or as she might say, a nod’s as wonky as a tight-lipped pucker.” —Michael Davidson
Nicole Markotić is a fiction writer and poet who has published two novels and two books of poetry. Her first novel, Yellow Pages: a Catalogue of Intentions, was a prose narrative about Alexander Graham Bell. She has also published two books of poetry, Connect the Dots and Minotaurs and Other Alphabets and a chapbook, more excess, which won the bpNichol Poetry Chapbook Award. A former resident of Calgary, she now teaches English Literature and creative writing at the University of Windsor. Dr. Markotić specializes in the subjects of Canadian Literature, Poetry, Children’s Literature, Disability in Film and Disability in Literature and she wrote a critical book on disability in film. She is also the Managing Editor of the chapbook series, Wrinkle Press.