Across this remarkable first book are encounters with animals, legendary beasts, and mythological monsters–half human and half something else. Donika Kelly’s Bestiary is a catalogue of creatures–from the whale and ostrich to the pegasus and chimera to the centaur and griffin. Among them too are poems of love, self-discovery, and travel, from “Out West” to “Back East.” Lurking in the middle of this powerful and multifaceted collection is a wrenching sequence that wonders just who or what is the real monster inside this life of survival and reflection. Selected and with an introduction by the National Book Award winner Nikky Finney, Bestiary questions what makes us human, what makes us whole.
About the Author
Donika Kelly is the author of the chapbook AVIARIUM (fivehundred places 2017), and the full-length collection BESTIARY (Graywolf 2016), winner of the 2015 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, the 2017 Hurston/Wright Award for poetry, and the 2018 Kate Tufts Discovery Award. BESTIARY was long listed for the National Book Award (2016) and a finalist for a Lambda Literary Award and a Publishing Triangle Award (2017). A Cave Canem Graduate Fellow and recipient of a fellowship to the Fine Arts Work Center, Donika received her MFA in Writing from the Michener Center for Writers and a Ph.D. in English from Vanderbilt University. She is an Assistant Professor at Baruch College, where she teaches creative writing.
Kelly will read from her collection at this fall’s annual Lit City author reading series on September 19, 2019 at 6:30pm in the Regina Peruggi room.