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In the Human Zoo

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Honoring the memory of a celebrated poet and a beloved teacher, the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry is awarded annually and is sponsored by the University of Utah Press and the University of Utah Department of English.

In the Human Zoo reveals encounters with a world that is both fragile and dangerous, a perilous, surreal place where not only humans but also creatures as innocuous as fireflies and owls become potential threats. Throughout the collection, speakers wrestle with human violence through a multitude of perspectives: the fear and resistance of victims, the frustration and outrage of witnesses, the regret and recognition of a global history in which so many people have participated as perpetrators. While the people who inhabit the world of this collection might yet remain caged, they nevertheless struggle to unleash themselves and each other through language.

88 pages, Paperback

First published April 15, 2011

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About the author

Jennifer Perrine

7 books77 followers
Jennifer Perrine is the author of four books of poetry, most recently Again (Airlie Press, 2020). Perrine's other books include No Confession, No Mass, winner of the 2016 Publishing Triangle Audre Lorde Award and the 2014 Prairie Schooner Book Prize in Poetry; In the Human Zoo, recipient of the 2010 Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize; and The Body Is No Machine, winner of the 2008 Devil’s Kitchen Reading Award in Poetry. A recipient of fellowships from Literary Arts and the Vermont Studio Center, Perrine lives in Portland, Oregon.

For more information, visit www.jenniferperrine.org or follow Jennifer on Instagram at @JenniferPerrineWrites .

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Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews
Profile Image for Dakota Lancaster.
5 reviews16 followers
January 13, 2016
People who say poetry is dead obviously haven't read this book. I received this through a goodreads giveaway and I sat through and read the whole thing in one sitting once it arrived. The author has a stunning way with words.
Profile Image for Amy.
Author 8 books19 followers
June 16, 2019
A meditation on human violence both corporeal and emotional. Such precise, vivid imagery.
Profile Image for Mary Vermillion.
Author 4 books27 followers
April 15, 2017
Jennifer Perrine read several poems from this wildly inventive collection when she recently visited Mount Mercy University. Check out the glorious sounds and attitude in this one:

If Life Gives You Lemons Make

your mouth into a trough, a spout
from which that sour sauce will pour,
pulp and spittle swimming down your
chin, eyes pinched shut, each acid thought

welling under the tongue. Thin slice
of pain wedged on the salty rim
of your face, let its tart grace skim
your glass neat: no sugar, no ice

to temper this bite, this slick burst
that cankers your lips. Life gives you
lemons; cut your teeth on their rinds,

tear them with gusto, slake your thirst
with their slavering, jaundiced juice,
swallow hard, leave no seeds behind.
Displaying 1 - 5 of 5 reviews

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