a slice from the cake made of air

Through a myriad of forms, the poems in a slice from the cake made of air smartly and forcefully confront the blurring intersections of abortion, sexual desire, and contemporary culture.

A slice from the cake made of air processes the physical and mental trauma of abortion coupled with the desires for sexual and emotional love against a backdrop of contemporary culture with all the sexualization that comes with race, gender, and landscape. From front to back the book is wound through with a single poem whose language is permuted, translated, and retranslated (from English to English) as it cycles around abortion, both asking what artifact / do I resemble and stating small love / small / you failed it / in person. The poems directly confront the sexual self (This isn’t a real orgasm, a real patellar fatigue) and take up the thesis abstract as a malleable form for interrogating the inevitable intersections and overlaps of brains and bodies. Sexy and volatile, a slice from the cake made of air winds over and through itself, with no conclusions or solutions for the mess of living in the world.


“Speaking from ‘where the lasso lashing/ cuts the fig leaf,’ Lillian-Yvonne Bertram considers flesh, considers life, considers loving, considers the cock, and considers ‘the scissoring scheme.’ She asks ‘of what erase/ do I remind myself.’ She asks ‘is heaven colored.’ She asks ‘is heaven without being able.’ And Bertram asks without the question mark—because she doesn’t need, or want, or anticipate, or believe in any answer we might give: she lives, brilliantly, with whole heart, whole mind, and whole body, in the contradictions. In the complexity. In the never-ending paradox of a life. She shows us, let’s say, that Illusion is the Medium Which Allows Emptiness to Become Something Special, and I love this book beyond loving.”—Sarah Vap

Lowercase black text reads "a slice from the cake made of air" is curved on a white background, red text at the bottom reads Lillian-Yvonne Bertram

Lillian-Yvonne Bertram ( Author Website )

Publication Date: April 21, 2016

Genre/Imprint: Poetry, Red Hen Press

$15.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-341-5