Leia Penina Wilson’s i built a boat with all the towels in your closet (and will let you drown) is at once a love ballad and a warning. These poems are—at their simplest—about relationships, sex, love, creatures, different kinds (and degrees) of violence, and—at their most complex—about the limits of the imagination, of language, and about the power the imagination has over the body. These poems confront the shifty line between human and animal, and urge the question: at what cost the body. Wilson’s animal-human doesn’t intend to answer that question; instead, she lunges towards it and tears it up and begins again, and again, and again.
Praise for i built a boat:
“I was mesmerized by the wild lyricism, quiet wit, and fearless curiosity of these poems. I feel lucky to have encountered them and am delighted to recognize them with the To the Lighthouse Prize.”—Evie Shockley
“Leia Wilson thoughtfully assembles a world, then dissembles it, so that we might see its brilliant underside. She illuminates the hidden spaces of memory and the body, uncovers fossils in time and language, looks to the faraway for answers. Stars, seasons, cities, birds, the spoken and unspoken are all stitched and unstitched, hinged and then unhinged. Wilson beautifully takes everything apart and gives us the burning, shimmering cores of things.”—Jenny Boully