Poems by Terri Witek
This book is so freaking cool. Terri Witek hasn’t simply written a collection of poems; she has created a text that continuously shapeshifts before our eyes. Someday, I hope to understand her amazing ability for finding as much meaning in a single consonant as in a 12 letter word, and her skill for crafting images both corporeal and immaterial. For now, though, I’m more than happy to read Body Switch, Witek at her best, again and again, admiring her gifts at every turn.
– Erica Dawson
When a suicide doesn’t leave a note, the porch light finds only snow. In Terri Witek’s devastating Body Switch, the real trouble is, as you say, that someone I loved very much is no longer to be seen. In breathtakingly inventive poems, Witek draws on everything she can, from the letters of Elizabeth Bishop and Robert Lowell, to comics and other signposts, not only to write the letter her son didn’t leave, but also to say to him I’d knock the breeze right back into you / still if I could.
– Kelle Groom
Terri Witek’s Body Switch is a powerful archive of perception that early on reveals a broken military ID bracelet found by hand in a jewelry box, later sketched—family artifact of war and love. Such intersecting vectors track not only subject and content, but their complicated dissolution. In this collection that “is…about directionality,” lineages of family, lovers, and poets, Bishop, Lowell, Pessoa, resolve and dissolve through the material realm of fallen off typewriter keys and in the harmony of the Notan, juxtaposing light and dark to make palpable the infinite space of loss that Witek renders and blurs—here, after Derrida: “…a slip of paper in a pocket you think this is to remember something, but actually you are trying to forget it.” Body Switch disambiguates, an internal epic seized in most arresting ways, at once between poetry and comic graphic: BOWM! WHOMP! K-POW! POW! The mind’s eye detonates / is detonated through these poems, at once explosively original and meticulously woven in the “whipstitch of time,” through dreams, notes, and practices, where Witek suspends and breaks the lyric line, cast “everywhere before her into the world.”
– Ronaldo Wilson