Some Animal by Ely Shipley
Some Animal
Poetry | $16.95
paperback, 120 pages, 5.5 x 7.5
Publication Date: forthcoming
ISBN: 978-1-937658-79-3

A new cross-genre collection that engages historical and personal explorations of gender and self

Aligned with queer theories of temporality, fragments of memoir rub against the language of psychiatric and medical regimes at the site of a body that does not conform to a gender binary. Some Animal draws out dream-like and supernatural resonances between the literature of pathology and experiences of gender dysphoria.

This remarkable, brilliant and brave poetry by Ely Shipley is an emblem for our time when US-lawmakers are making LGBTQ bodies outlaw in many states, their Christian extremism telling an entire generation they are subhuman. Float out of body with these poems then come hurtling down to land on our feet together and demand safety, equity, and a place at the table for all people. I love this book!—CA CONRAD

Not only a tremendous gift to those of us who are trans-masculine (and my god, what an ‘enormous relief comes with the realization / that others recognize one’s experience’) but for anyone who has ever felt ‘all alone inside / a riddle.’ Yes, YES may all of our animals find one another in the tender sear of this writing—disobeying borders in order to live in the love between—TC TOLBERT

Ely Shipley’s Some Animal transports bildungsroman through surreal bends in narrative where the grotesque and the beautiful crash like waves eroding shore. Here we experience the body as, rather than in, transition, laid bare before the haziness of memory and how its elision protects and frustrates. Shipley’s assuredness with the flexibility of language is beyond word play—he is not playing with us. Instead, his language is tactile and smart; it bends form and genre like gender, like blood, using story itself as metaphor, as active verb, as color, as breath. “I want to see,” the first piece muses, “I’m not sure what – a miracle.” Some Animal delivers. Read it and grow; read it and ache; read it and rejoice, then read it again.—SAMIYA BASHIR

Praise

Some Animal on Buzzfeed's "21 Book Queer Women (And Everybody Else) Should Read This Pride Month"

“When she becomes he, people are confused, some are even angry,” writes Shipley (Boy with Flowers) in this riveting exploration of what it means to come of age in a genderqueer body. The collection’s four linked memoirs adopt a ranging, hybrid form. Though steeped in Anglo-American poetry and literary theory, the book’s first order of business is making sense of how it feels to be “all alone inside// a riddle.” Shipley’s sources are those of contemporary autobiography: visceral memories of sex and sex ed (“The classroom quiet. Rapt. Wrapped in gauze”), portentous dreams (“Pale bodies in S shapes slither and glide, slick over water-skin”), unshakeable pronouncements from family members (“Grandma lets out a long sigh, ‘Well, then, if you’re a boy,/ let’s see your penis’ ”). What sets this book apart is its focused attention to the experience of defying the gender binary, of being in a body that intimates and strangers alike are bent on denying. “That’s not a girl, that’s a boy,” classmates say, in one dreamscape. “Oh. No, wait: what is it?” Mining his own life and those of his queer kin, Shipley’s book is one of hard truths, lovingly rendered."—Publishers Weekly

 

"Some Animal, Ely Shipley's prose/poetry/bildungsroman hybrid, makes itself intimate with the domesticating narratives enforcing and reinforcing constraints on our bodies and identities. It seems for this reason, Some Animal so explicitly takes on, wears, and disrobes a decidedly Western and White canon of poems and writings, assuming the shapes of "Large albino snakes" and "White roots." (Ovid's Metamorphoses, alongside Dickinson's "A narrow Fellow in the Grass," Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind," and Keats' Lamia, supplies the poetic heritage, while the Havelock Ellis's 1897 text Sexual Inversion provides the dominant pathological survey.)"—MICA WOODS, Diagram