Scorpio’s poems are at turns dramatic and mundane as a lust-filled pop song. ey take us back to the poet’s youth in suburban Ohio and move forward through the economic collapse of 2008 into a present where democracy often seems at risk. One poem hopes that a “SWOLLEN HEART” will “BURN BRIGHTER THAN THIS” while declaring that “MONOGAMY IS LIKE MARXISM” because “IT EXISTS
BEST ON PAPER.” Another is white hot with the memory of rape while still another explores the simple social awkwardness of a houseguest asking for a towel. Author of the celebrated Dear Alain (Tender Buttons Press, 2014), letters about love, poetry, and philosophy addressed to French philosopher Alain Badiou, Bohinc employs a variety of prose and verse forms to write about eros colliding with ego as all our explanations fail. Much as the scorpion is the ultimate survivor, these poems confront the damage done to us but do not succumb to it, naming Love, personal and abstract, as its remedy.
Reviews & Such
“…the most notable part of this collection is the sonic texture of the language. Everywhere, music sings through the words.” –John Speigel, Constant Critic, Fence Digital, April 3, 2020
“Bohinc is a heroine of the new lyric communism—a movement in and for poetry that breaks apart the barriers between people rooted in the subjective I—that explodes lyric for the sake of making contact with the abject and excluded.” –Joshua Corey, Plume: Issue #95 July 2019
“At once gorgeous and grotesque, Bohinc’s work inhabits both poetry and philosophy, just as she inhabits the world as both artist and mathematician.” –Alysse Kathleen McCanna, American Book Review, Volume 40, Number 3, March/April 2019
“I’ve now read Scorpio six times. It is not an easy book, nor does it aspire to be easy. In fact, I don’t think I’m off base to interpret these poems as a direct challenge to the reader to open up, let in, let go.”– Lisa Grgas, The Literary Review, Vol.62 Issue 01. Spring 2019
“Beyond Math is Poetry: A Conversation with Katy Bohinc” Interview in The Adroit Journal, February 2019.
“…the book’s multifarious ways of rendering the object of poiesis always return to the lover & the beloved; this is a deeply lyrical book, and in my view a deeply successful one.” Tom Snarsky, Empty Mirror
“Bohinc doggedly gauges themes of place, sexual violence, astrology, and American double standards in a collection that sustains a haunting eros” Publishers Weekly, November 2018
“Because I go to so many / bullshit meetings all day long,” writes Katy Bohinc, “I want / a literary song.” This is a book of love songs and songs of despair. It takes place in bad times like these. True to the title, many of Scorpio‘s best poems are also its scariest.”
Scorpio comes on fast, like a speeding star sent out from a galaxy that is both very far away and deeply here on earth, close with real things. In these poems, Bohinc relentlessly describes in pulsing and various tones a reality where loneliness is impossible and the mistakes of our age can be corrected with an instinctual elixir, where the pressures of society can be alleviated with a sweet internal and holy rage. This book is the essence of poetry: it’s necessary, everchanging, and ferocious.
Scorpios remember pain and ache for a line break. They are harsh enough on themselves to think they are caged personas that mimic what they most pity. Bohinc realizes words are mere lies, yet she maneuvers them hauntingly to fight the demons of the night in order to retrieve a vocabulary for poems as intense and as necessary as water and communism.
About the Author
Katy Bohinc grew up in the outskirts of Cleveland and graduated from Georgetown with degrees in pure mathematics and comparative literature, leaving her studies for a time to work in Beijing with the Chinese Urgent Action Working Group, a human rights organization. Now living in New York City, she works as a data scientist and marketer. Since 2013 she has collaborated with Lee Ann Brown in directing Tender Buttons Press, a distinguished publisher of experimental women’s poetry for which she edited Tender Omnibus: The First Twenty-Five Years of Tender Buttons Press (2015) and Please Add To is List: A Guide To Teaching Bernadette Mayer’s Sonnets and Experiments (2014). Bohinc is the author of Dear Alain (Tender Buttons, 2014), letters to the French philosopher Alain Badiou about poetry, philosophy, and love, and a book of poems about the divine feminine, Trinity Star Trinity (Scarlet Imprint, 2017).