Her Mouth as Souvenir, winner of the Agha Shahid Ali Poetry Prize (University of Utah Press).
“Not since Josh Bell’s No Planets Strike have I encountered an emerging poet's book that took the top of my head off with as sure a slice as Heather June Gibbon’s Her Mouth as Souvenir. Her language is wicked, syncopated and full of canny stings, with a quality of idiosyncratic consciousness that’s utterly contemporary. This is a singular collection, serving notice that Gibbons is a force with whom poetry readers will be thrilled to reckon.”
—Erin Belieu, author of Slant Six and Black Box
“Part garage-rock, part requiem, part power ballad, Gibbons' book is a whirling 'study in loss.' These pulsing poems sing, shout, and interrogate everything from desire to the digital age to a Midwestern waterpark, while luring us into their restless beauty, fervor, and humor. Spinning with silver suits and phosphorescent blooms, and attentive to the legerdemain of language, Her Mouth as Souvenir is both torch and torch singer as it shines its light into our mouths, illuminating us.”
—Simone Muench, author of Wolf Centos
”I love this book and the way it cries out in well-crafted poems that aren’t under the impression that craft has anything to do with boredom. Her Mouth as Souvenir is a declarative wonder, a testament to our need to go and go on.” —Jericho Brown, author of The New Testament
Eros, you are so personless and difficult.
You hamstring us, string us up
and make us want to want only you: desire
dedicated to desire, the poison mandrake
roots and blooms and catches fire.
Your port barely conceals the everlasting
never enough. You are both ambulance
and chaser, stinger and the stung, swollen
welt and stinky balm. For you, we get lashed
to the mast. For you, we do the singing.
Flyover, chapbook, Q Avenue Press
“There is more playfulness, sorrow, bravado, self-mockery, verbal dazzlement, emotional reckoning--more virtuosic sentence-making and anxious human awkwardness--in these nineteen terse and brilliant poems than an unsuspecting reader has any right to expect. More leaping, more daring turns, more graceful footwork along the edge of a crumbling cliff. Or, as Gibbons would have it, "I mean she danced like a suspension bridge/in an earthquake." —Mark Levine, author of Travels of Marco