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Portrait of My Body as a Crime I'm Still Committing

4.62  ·  Rating details ·  29 ratings  ·  23 reviews
Portrait of My Body as a Crime I’m Still Committing is an award-winning, omnivorous collection of poetry residing in the space between confessional & manifesto. Portrait is interested in the immediacy of language; in girlhood as wolfhood; in the cartography of illness; in fractures through the dark; in bodies, human & water alike. Luminous, tender, & unflinchin ...more
Published May 27th 2019
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4.62  · 
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 ·  29 ratings  ·  23 reviews

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Aly Locatelli
Apr 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
A Foreword From Topaz Winters:

Healing Is
learning for the first time of a love
only i can fit inside

When the lovely Topaz Winters approached me about reviewing her newest anthology Portrait I jumped at the chance. I'm not usually a huge fan of poetry, but Topaz's writing has always been one of my favourites. It has a way of reaching inside me, tangling with my heart, emotions and head. It's hard to read one of her poems without feeling completely laid b
Apr 12, 2019 rated it really liked it
"Show me Central Park & show me
the places where we died. Show me
how poetry, in all its corruption,
brought us back to life again. That love
was the cure for everything all along,
love & a damn good cheeseburger."
Trista Mateer
Apr 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Portrait of My Body as a Crime I’m Still Committing tackles the unapologetic nature of girlhood, the mouths we mar with our own, the way our bodies look in the light. With the collection, Winters has created something unashamedly queer and self-sufficient. She asks her own questions and does not wait for someone else to answer them. “Must I say it to survive?” asks the poet. “Then I will.”
Caitlin Conlon
Mar 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
There are few writers that I struggle to pin down as much as I do with Topaz Winters. Something about the way she can twine images so neatly (and, at times, clumsily) to collective feelings of yearning and persistence and absolute necessity is breathtaking in every sense of the word. Portrait Of My Body As A Crime I’m Still Committing is an homage to light and all the ways it touches us and all the ways it abandons us in times of need but still manages to return. This is a collection about love, ...more
Topaz Winters
Mar 26, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  (Review from the author)
“What is it they say about / love? That it’s only possession reimagined. That / it lives outside the body. That it’s florid & empty / & cheating & thankful for so much, so much / it doesn’t know how to name. All her life the girl / has eaten. Now it’s your turn. Doorbell ring. / Quiet bruise. Price of deadly. Anything is yours / if you swallow it.”

Proud of this ravenous reckless skin-searching little creature. I hope you love it as much as I do.
It starts so raw. Open. Dropping you into the deep end. But also: cards close, not showing everything yet. Or ever. Contradictions in all their beautiful and intriguing existence.

How in love we are with the things our minds
create to survive

Self Diagnosis feels like all the air punched out of your lungs at once.

I love the girl something holy is a line from Trigger that feels so much like Heaven or This, but this is different. Sharper. Words that can hurt you, but also words you can cut with. I
Hannah (Ink & Myths)
🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 (5.00/5.00)

I want to thank Topaz Winters, for writing a poetry collection as brilliant and wonderful as this one, and for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

I’ve been a huge fan of Topaz Winters’ poetry for years now. I love the way her words reach me, resonate with me; no one else manages to evoke not one or two, but a whole flood of emotions in me, like Topaz does with her words. You can imagine how happy I was, how honoured, when she contacted me to
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I got an e-ARC in exchange for an honest review.

This review will not be completely clean cut or free of emotion. When reviewing poetry, I feel like it is important to lay out emotions properly. Yes, I will comment on Winters’s choice of wording, and how it never felt pretentious or forced. That is important to me in writing. Sometimes, I feel like poet’s try too hard to be “extra” and it’s difficult. But, I never felt this way with Winters’s work. They used lyrical language that helped pull me i
Jade Homa
Apr 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“This is what the wolves taught me:

the most beautiful word is girl.

The most beautiful part of her body

is what she did to survive.”

In Portrait of My Body as a Crime I’m Still Committing, Topaz Winters weaves soft and hard pieces of her body together like stitches in a downy comforter. Body turned dead bird turned mouth turned home for she who does not want it. Winters clings to fledgling metaphors like they will bring the girl she love[d?] back; ever in heart thrown song, these chirps serve as a
Ceiling Shards
Topaz Winters very kindly gave me an Advanced Reader's Copy of her upcoming poetry collection Portrait of my Body as a Crime I'm Still Committing. I was thrilled to read this one because I really enjoyed her previous collection. As someone who enjoys reading and writing poetry, picking up the intricacies in each poem and how all of them come together so cohesively made for a wonderful reading experience. The bold vulnerability of Winters' writing shines through in every word, particularly in the ...more
Apr 06, 2019 rated it it was amazing
“Tomorrow’s sun cannot find its way out of my ribcage. In my wrists, swaddled robins.” Just exquisite. Here, Topaz Winters puts forth some of her best work. She finds words of intrigue, colors, and movements, and puts them together in all the right ways. Portrait of My Body As a Crime I’m Still Committing paints a devastating portrait of experiences all-encompassing: both universal and specific, both earth-shaking and heartfelt. Brilliantly introspective, this book is for anyone who has fought a ...more
Mary E
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Where to begin with Portrait of my Body as a Crime I’m Still Committing? A bleeding heart of desire, power, and prayer, this collection is a blessing. Topaz Winters’ writing grabs you by the heart and refuses to let go until you’ve read all of it. It leaves your head spinning in the best way, forcing you to chew on and digest each intricately crafted poem. It’s chock-full of delicious contradictions—war and softness, violence and holiness, anger and peace. Winters also canonizes queer desire in ...more
Apr 12, 2019 rated it it was amazing
In the beginning there was want / I can’t remember what came after that

Before I go any further, let me say that I loved Portrait of My Body as a Crime I’m Still Committing in a way that I haven’t loved a piece of literature in a very long time. If you take nothing else away from this review, know that Topaz Winters will touch your heart, squeeze it, rip it out, then offer it on a plate as nourishment, sometimes in the course of a single poem, and in the end, you will be grateful to have witnesse
I sent Topaz a frenzied DM on Instagram after reading her poem 'Trigger' - a wonderful, poignant articulation of queerness and womanhood. I had just come out of the most awful day, and these specific lines shattered me:

[...] I love the girl.
Can I not have this soft thing, too? On my back & shotgun
to my chest & question on your lips & no more words to

Portrait of My Body as a Crime I'm Still Committing is brimming with painful, vivid, and emotionally raw moments like this. It is
Silvia (roomforbooks)
May 14, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I was super lucky to receive an E-Arc of Portrait of My Body as a Crime I'm Still Committing in exchange for an honest review.

You are not the kind of human / who calls herself human.

I'd already read Heaven or This by Topaz Winters, I'd ended up loving it and crying over my kindle, so when I started reading Portrait I was ready to experience that all over again. And it happened. Topaz Winters did it again. With her honesty and rawness, she hits right where it hurts but that's also what I apprecia
May 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
When I received the ARC, I was a couple days from finals week. I still peeked at the first lines and oh my, was I blown away. The first poem “Guidebook for Wild Things Wishing To Be Tamed” remained my favourite one in this collection. Winters’s poetry is made of bright moments; you read it and you don’t remember words being used like this before. This collection is different. These poems are not cherry blossom soft like Heaven or This. These poems are all sharp edges.

Winters makes me look at my
Stephanie Tom
I swollen holy / grail. I mountain lung. I / turn foreign language. I / brave until peril. I warning bell. I swallow. / I inhale & never bleed / again.
(from “Self-Diagnosis”)

Right from the very beginning, Topaz snatched my breath away with her opening poem, “Guidebook for Wild Things Wishing to be Tamed.” She’s got a gift for spinning light into lyric and gutting you with the sharpest of song. PORTRAIT OF MY BODY AS A CRIME I’M STILL COMMITTING is Topaz at her best: honest & heart-wrench
Apr 29, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Born on the cusp of the new millennium, Topaz Winters has accomplished something that takes many writers a lifetime; that is, the development of a singular, recognisable voice. This voice chimes loudly throughout this collection, a lyrical cadence that builds and softens, whisking the reader along. Portrait is perhaps more corporeal than her previous collections, in its explicitly physical language and visceral imagery. There is a lot of fire and a lot of food, with ties in with Winters’ explora ...more
Apr 16, 2019 added it
I was lucky to receive Topaz Winters' collection of poems "Portrait of My Body as a Crime I'm Still Committing" in exchange for an honest review.
I won't be able to go into the technicalities of poetry writing as I have not had much experience with poetry. I'm a poetry noob. However, the rawness of emotion was evident in each poem. To me, the poems did not seem beautiful like delicate flowers; no their beauty lay in the truth they conveyed, and in the strength with which they conveyed it. This co
Topaz Winter’s portrait of my body as a crime i'm still committing is a book in which tenderness has given way to hunger, both literal and of the soul. Queer desire, mental illness, and loving a girl likened to the moon in poems sharp and explosive.

The references to hallucinations, coupled with the poem about antipsychotics, and references to hospitals and other forms of mental illness, made me feel that moment of being seen, of the reality/unreality of that experience being written about frankl
Apr 16, 2019 rated it it was amazing
in the beginning there was want —
I can’t remember what came after that.

with Portrait, Topaz Winters manages to both break your heart and reassemble within the same story. there’s a fever present beneath the words, all at once both delicate and severe. from the heatstroke of falling in love with something just out of your grip, to the all too familiar quiet turmoil we suffer through mental illness. Topaz writes as if she’s rehashing a personal conversation, and we’re all pressing our ears to the
Jun 13, 2019 rated it it was amazing
This is the most stunning collection of poetry I have read all year. I was in love from the first word to the last. I’m constantly in awe is Winters writing and believe evvvvveryone should buy and read her work.

This meditation on sexuality, love, fear, our relationships with our body, and dreams is a masterpiece. Winters has such a unique voice and I love every poem, but Trigger and For H blew my mind and I will be returning to this collection to read over and over again. Wow.
McKayla DeBonis
Apr 23, 2019 rated it really liked it
*i was given an arc for an honest review, all opinions are indeed my own*

You can’t read Topaz’s poetry without feeling completely naked or like she is reading your thoughts and feelings.

Her poetry has done nothing but amaze me since the first time I read her work, it continues to grow and become more self in-depth, the feeling that radiates off of Portrait is astounding & it really makes you dig inside yourself.

Everything about this collection had me in tears
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Topaz Winters (they/she) is a poet, essayist, editor, creative director, speaker, scholar, actress, & multidisciplinary artist working with a foundation in literature. Among her internationally award-winning & critically-acclaimed creative credits include working as the author of four books (most recently Portrait of My Body As a Crime I’m Still Committing, a finalist in the Gaudy Boy Poet ...more