Snake III: The Hunger Sutras

Snake III: the Hunger Sutras is the third book in the Snake Quartet. By now snake has carried the lost voices—from the smallest single celled whisper to the bellow of more complex creatures as she wanders the empty Earth. Thousands—maybe millions of years—listening–while also searching for the clues in the ruins that when puzzled into insight become the beginning movement in the opera of life returning. The clues are fossils embedded in the archeological remains of stone and air—fire and rain. All that is left. Except for snake.


“Reading Gary Lemons’s The Hunger Sutras, you will enter a dizzyingly visionary head-space, and you will feel your skull crack, ear imp, spirit throb. Expect to be transported at vertiginous speed to an apocalyptic post-modern world where ‘naked angels / [Lie] in the sand like industrial debris’ (re-see: the paintings of Bosch and Bruegel the Elder), this wondrous topsy-turvy, twisted, gnarled-up world (O Revelation) where ‘melodious ashes fill the air,’ this ‘compost pile’ realm of the tail-flailing snake, Lemon’s own re-invention of the Damaballah of Haitian vodun but with a Buddhist twist. Be convulsed, be transmogrified by snake’s prophecies, by snake’s obfuscations, by snake’s teasing secrets’O, indeed, allow yourself to be enraptured by snake’s riddling words, by snake’s shape-shifting thoughts, this animal shaman ‘befriender of the dead,’ this trickster that dwells in the here and the there’omniscient as an ‘atom in an eye,’ this roving seer that seeks after truths (the many, never the few) and like some avenging angel ‘detonates all the lies she’s ever / Been told.'”—Orlando Ricardo Menes, author of Fetish and Heresies

“Gary Lemons’ third book, the Hunger Sutras, advances his brilliant quartet and is something very surprising like James Merrill meets Robert Bly. This book, though, is in no way derivative it is, and this is my point, utterly original and, if this is possible, it’s also a warm-hearted puzzlement. This work serves as an illumination in a time of great darkness. Wonderful!”—Norman Dubie, author of The Quotations of Bone.

A Red background with a design of a black snake at the center and white script that reads The Hunger Sutras poems by Gary Lemons.

Gary Lemons ( Author Website )

Publication Date: November 6, 2018

Genre/Imprint: Poetry, Red Hen Press

$17.95 Tradepaper

Shop: Red Hen, Bookshop, Barnes & Noble

ISBN: 978-1-59709-619-5


Gary Lemons interviewed on Behind the Vision podcast!

I had the pleasure of interviewing Gary Lemons to talk about his quartet series, Snake. Check out our first interview, where we talk about Gary’s background and book one in the series, and then stay tuned for part two coming soon!

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