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Poems that consider the human body as a meeting place of the infinite and the mortal.
Starting with the idea that the human experience is the universe looking back at itself, godhouse takes the notion a few steps further by centering cosmology within a raced and gendered body. Ruth Ellen Kocher’s poems envision this body as a union of god and soul that, within our material world, encompasses love and hate, joy and despair. The body is a site of divine presence made mortal, electrified with the resonance of both the infinite and the human. In godhouse, we encounter the body as a site where the universe is made personal and celebratory, where the celestial endure the complications of flesh and friction forms between the glorious and the monstrous aspects of personhood.

149 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2023


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Godhouse reveals the gorgeously pitched trajectory of Kocher’s lyric powers and blazing intellect, where language beguilingly constellates and historizes and frees the body eternally into a vast monument. My admiration is boundless at how these poems transmit the hidden with elegance and brings to fore a complex tenderness I had not known I desired, ‘a viral expansion of light.’”

Major Jackson, author of The Absurd Man

“In godhouse, Kocher divines the multidimensional gods and monsters that live within us slipping between terror and beauty, beginnings and endings, what is found and what is lost, ‘nothing . . . and everything at once.’ Innovative in their paratactic shifts, pliable syntax, and surprising juxtapositions, these poems embrace the personal, mythical, historical, ecological, socio-political, and cosmological as lived, embodied experience.”

Brenda Cárdenas, author of Boomerang

“Kocher’s devastating collection of poems, godhouse, prefigures grief in its emergence from ‘blunder’ and ‘nothing.’ Like Ralph Ellison’s ‘Invisible Man,’ the speaker in Kocher’s godhouse holds a knife in her teeth against a shadow world of hunter and hunted in which survival is necessarily mystical. Unnerved and unnerving these poems are a barbiturate gaze’s disinhibition through the tattered dystopia of an American life. Heady, emotional, and meticulously crafted, godhouse leaves no room for delusion in its blade, pointed right at whomever might pose a threat.”

Dawn Lundy Martin, author of Good Stock Strange Blood

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