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Mother Octopus is animated by eco-poems that raise questions about the nature of human and animal appetites and the increasing levels of consumption that threaten the environment, while also exploring queer forms of intimacy and resilience in the Anthropocene. Giragosian's poems inquire into the forces and agencies (ie: gut flora, bacteria, microorganisms) that impact animals and human animals in complex ways not always on our personal level of consciousness. In an era in which the global pandemic is shaping discourse about animals and environment (often in reductive ways), Mother Octopus deepens the conversation about how the crisis derives from humanity's problematic relationships to animals and the environment, as well as the indiscriminate omnivorism that characterizes our age. Elegiac and yet critical of false consolation, Mother Octopus delves into the anxieties, violence, and pleasures of consumption (corporeal, economic, and societal) and its impacts on peoples, animals and environments. 

"How do these biologically and imaginatively intimate poems manage to weave reckonings with whiteness, queer love across borders, the loss of a beloved mother, human history and deep time, climate collapse, migration, and the end of empire with the worlds of wings, fins, octopus eggs, tentacles, talons and paws of our animal kin? I don’t know, but I’ll be studying to learn from the brilliant leaps and sonically stitched imagery of these haunting, beautiful poems that stun into blazes of feeling and thought. In their traverse of worlds and speakers and species, we learn the poetic magic of empathy, of metaphor, of seeing deeply into other beings and into our own animal bodies. Sarah Giragosian has written poems we need in this moment of precarious cruelty and persistent wonder. I am grateful for this work."

—Anne Haven McDonnell, author of Breath on a Coal, winner of the 2022 Halcyon Award

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  • Sarah Giragosian is the author of the poetry collections Queer Fish, a winner of the American Poetry Journal Book Prize (Dream Horse Press, 2017), and The Death Spiral (Black Lawrence Press, 2020). This year the University of Akron Press published Sarah's co-edited anthology Marbles on the Floor: How to Arrange a Book of Poems. Sarah's writing has appeared in such journals as Pleiades, Ecotone, Tin House, and Prairie Schooner, among others. She teaches at the University at Albany-SUNY.

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