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4.43  ·  Rating details ·  665 ratings  ·  111 reviews
McKibbens's blud is a collection of dark, rhythmic poems interested in the ways in which inherited things―bloodlines, mental illnesses, trauma―affect their inheritors. Reveling in form and sound, McKibbens's writing takes back control, undaunted by the idea of sinking its teeth into the ugliest moments of life, while still believing―and looking for―the good underneath all ...more
Kindle Edition, 88 pages
Published May 1st 2018 by Copper Canyon Press (first published October 17th 2017)
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Average rating 4.43  · 
Rating details
 ·  665 ratings  ·  111 reviews

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Nov 29, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very powerful collection, really well assembled and composed. McKibben tackles blood of family, blood of wounds, all manner of blood, as well as sexuality, mental illness, womanhood, conjuring. The poem "leverage" is simply spectacular, but really, every poem offers something remarkable, unforgettable. ...more
Adam Di Filippe
Jun 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Back then, I wasn't shit.
Just electrified violence.
All fists, piss & safety pins,
an unwed teenage mother
with no address.

You had parents. Freckles.
A three-story house. I'd listen
to you spit your angsty
fiction while I slept in parks
& ate from garbage cans.
Feb 11, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, library, 2018indch
Angry--enraged actually--in a way I found liberating. McKibbens deals with mental illness and family, gender, her personal experiences in language that is both precise and powerful. I was going to return the book to the library without reading it (due to lack of time) but out of curiosity I opened the book to read a few poems. I found I couldn't put it down. Lines like "What I once had mistaken for death was, instead, a door" and "it was the only moment in this wretched life a god was on my side ...more
Karla Strand
Why do I think I don’t like poetry? I’ve read three books of poetry this year and fell in love with each of them. This one included. It tore my heart out. In all the best and worst ways.
Ali Enchanted
Jan 14, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

Blud hit me like a ton of bricks. Honestly.

This collection is so different than what's currently out there right now. It's not cute poetry. It's not written for the mass market. It's not written to appeal to an instagram audience.
And I'm glad.

These poems are raw and honest and brutal. They make you stop and say "Fuck."
When I say I had goosebumps multiple times while reading, I'm not exaggerating.

This collection deals with childhood trauma, abuse, abandonment, toxic family, loss
Scarllet ✦ iamlitandwit
you write poems to understand what you cannot understand. finally name the snapping beast you've tried to outrun your entire life. stop avoiding. stop the scorched fog of language the redirects the eye. say what you mean. quit saying better when you mean eviscerated.
This poetry collection bites into your flesh, leaving vivid indentations in your rotting skin. Its dark and heavy imagery skins you alive bit by bit with the way we are almost spying on Rachel McKibbens's life and trauma that is cons
Jamie (Books and Ladders)
After the whole plagiarism thing came out, I thought I'd read the original source. McKibbens' poetry collection broke and repaired my soul. She understands mental health and illness are two sides of the same coin. I think there are so many amazing and poignant poems in this that I absolutely love. If you're are a fan of dark and gritty poems that highlight reality as it is not as you wish it was, this is the collection for you. ...more
Nov 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry
Now I walk the streets

forcing men into uncomfortable eye
contact: You wanna fuck with me?

I wanna fuck with you.
What greater burden, what more

unconquerable revolt is there than that
of a resurrected woman?

Ripe with vengeance, I termite.
Tomorrow I'll button my blouse

with a dozen kitchen knives &
cast your dreamless skulls

into the cemetery soil
& that's just breakfast.

- Excerpt from una oración (bruja’s soliloquy)

These poems were fantastic and brutal. Reading poetry is still relatively new to me and it
Oct 31, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I thought this was a solid collection until I hit “* * *” (aka “To my daughters I need to say:”). Then I was sobbing. This wrecked me in the best way possible.
Avery Guess
'blud' does what all of Rachel McKibbens books do - break the reader open and suture them back together in the best way. In "una oración (bruja’s soliloquy)" McKibbens asks, "What greater burden, what more / unconquerable revolt is there than that / of a resurrected woman?" The answer, given in all of the poems in this collection, is none. I highly recommend this collection out from Copper Canyon, and if you haven't read McKibben's previous books, consider picking them up as well. ...more
Laurel L. Perez
May 27, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Can I give this ten stars, or more? This project is important, and after reading poetry collections all week I did know if this would jump at me, and I feel as if I was held by the throat while I read. My attention never waivering.Within this searing narrative, McKibbens turns survival into an invocation. This collection is not for the faint of heart, but you should find a way to read it immediately.
"There isn't a man alive who could undo me." ...more
Mar 25, 2019 rated it liked it
Dark and gritty, but ultimately not really my thing. Poetry is super hit or miss for me, and nothing in this one really stood out or grabbed me. Glad I read it, but probably won't seek out more. ...more
Lexi Nylander
"I have always been a god-hammered girl."

This was incredible. It was powerful and angry and intense and about sexuality, mental illness, femininity, identity, and so much more. It kind of made my heart race.

My favorites were maybe this will explain my taste in men, the sandbox, the ghost's daughter speaks: white elephant, oath (blud litany), and una oración (bruja's soliloquy).

"I'd trace the broken landscape of my body and find God within myself."

"You have my permission not to love me. I am a
Sep 06, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The poems are witchy, blunt, butch and unapologetic. The poems touch on topics of abandonment, belonging, mental health, and lineage in sharp and raw ways. So much of it resonated with my own childhood traumas and the residues of them that I've buried deep inside. Good poetry does that. It reminds you where you've come from and makes you confront truths you try to hide. I especially enjoyed "maybe this will explain my taste in men," "drought (California)", and "***." ...more
Dec 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Although it came out last year, McKibbens redeemed the year in poetry for me with this stark, powerful gut punch of a book. I, like many, came to this book after the Ailey O'Toole plagiarism scandal, and I feel like I have been missing out on McKibbens' brilliance for a long time. I look to poets who can convey humanity without filters, without pretense, and now I'm excited to read all of her other work. Blud grabs you by the throat and demands your attention. ...more
Sep 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Definitely one of my favorite poetry collections I’ve read in 2019! McKibbens seems to find the right words every time, and kept taking my breath away over and over again. I read each poem twice (or more) because they packed such a potent emotional punch and put words together in such creative and perfect ways. This collection covers mental illness, family lineage, womanhood, sexuality, and so much more. I highly recommend it.
Apr 11, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, favorites
I haven’t been immersed in a book of poetry this way since reading Crush by Richard Siken. McKibbens’ use of words is surprising and beautiful and hard. I found myself saying, “She’s fucking incredible” at the end of more than one poem. She gets me excited; she makes me want to write (my own stuff, of course, lol).
Jun 28, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Yeah, so, this is my new favorite poetry collection. Probably forever. Holy fuck.

I'll try to write a more sophisticated review someday but I just finished reading and need some time to swim out of my feelings.
Joseph Dante
Mar 18, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, favorites
The words in this collection are so close to the body, it's almost like you aren't reading at all. I had to take these poems very slowly because they were honestly killing me. I was genuinely shocked by the dark places they go to, the lineage and depths of abuse and trauma. You might cry, you will probably gasp. These powerful poems explore so much in so few words: family, mental illness, gender, sexuality, death, loss. A new favorite. ...more
Mar 12, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A stellar, heartbreaking book written by one badass broad.
Apr 15, 2018 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dark, disturbing at times, powerful
Julie Olver
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautiful and powerful, a really important voice in modern poetry.
I can't rate this. It's a powerful collection, and some parts really spoke to me, but at other points I almost felt like a voyeur. ...more
Caitlin Conlon
Jul 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
what is there to say that hasn’t already been said? I’ve been thinking about this collection ever since I put it down.
Dec 10, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
McKibben’s poetry is gut-wrenching. This collection is cohesive and it felt like every word was contemplated and necessary. I definitely want to read more of her work!
Megan Alyse
Jan 06, 2021 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: mfa
Riveting! McKibbens slays.
Dec 01, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: poetry, lgbt, own
Intensely relatable, too eerily. I'm having a hard time describing how I feel about this collection, but needless to say I was impressed. It's poetry I will most likely revisit over and over. Her language is so evocative and real. I really am at a loss for words. ...more
Darcy armstrong
Easily one of my favorite poetry books I have read in awhile. It pulls you in and keeps you for the entirety of the book. Highly recommend.
Wonderful collection. Favorite poems: "the sandbox," "letter from my brain to my heart," "the ghost's daughter speaks: white elephant," and "una oración (bruja's soliloquy)." ...more
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Poet, activist, playwright and essayist Rachel McKibbens is the author of the poetry collections Into the Dark and Emptying Field (2013) and Pink Elephant (2009). The Rumpus wrote of Pink Elephant, “McKibbens awakens and haunts with selfless honesty.” Her poems, short stories, essays and creative non-fiction have been featured in numerous journals and blogs, including Her Kind, The Los Angeles Rev ...more

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“I raise a fist in solidarity with all who live with mental illness and all who have voiced demands to be seen and understood and loved and honored. We, the most feral singers, we who open our throats to swallow the sky’s shimmering and perfect darkness, we are so goddamn holy.” 2 likes
“If no child of mine
becomes a poet
will the absence of my tongue shimmer
like betrayal
in their mouths?”
More quotes…