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9781593767631 | Paperback 5-1/2 x 8-1/4 | 96 pages Buy it Now

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Book Description

A poetry collection contorting the idea of home away from being a site of comfort and nourishment by coaxing the reader to think about domesticity in knotty new ways

Domestirexia goes beyond the entanglement of “domestic” and “anorexia” exploring a behind-closed-doors sensuality, borne in the concept of making home.

Home can be a space of both resistance and discomfort that one desires or takes pleasure in enjoying. Rote notions of home and the domestic are reimagined in these poems as estranging, excessive, and populated by unknowable characters. Exploring themes of family, sacrifice, disease, death, money, cooking, romance, sex, art, and the visceral qualities of the everyday, the poems twist themselves into binds for the reader to undo or surrender to.

Quarantined at her in-law’s house during Covid, Novak wrote these poems while watching The Great British Baking Show, reading The Seven Habits of Highly Effective People, skimming Grimm Brothers fairy tales, and babysitting an infant. These are poems about wanting to misbehave. Light voyeurism at home, with gin and cake.

About the Author

Praise For This Book

“JoAnna Novak's DOMESTIREXIA oscillates through the thinking and lush pathology of the late-capital domestic subject. Novak's voice makes material out of her linguistic virtuosity, and makes it look easy, flicking away inventive and unexpected phrases as easily as they come, to make space for the next. DOMESTIREXIA isn't a claustrophobic domestica however, the speaker's mind-palace is decadent, nearly infinite, and the atmosphere builds,like a golden era film from Hollywood, where the confident female lead in the noir is playing with a knife, playing with the co-lead ‘Show me proof, Painboy,’ she said. ‘Show me.’ I loved this book, and you will too.” —Ben Fama, author of DEATHWISH and FANTASY

“JoAnna Novak's creeping lexicon catalogs the ‘low-grade discontent’ of contemporary homemaking, finding the wilting corners of vibrant greenery, the loose nail in the hardwood flooring, the rotten egg in a sumptuous dessert. ‘I plan to play for hours,’ confesses DOMESTIREXIA's speaker in ‘Good Game.’ But before she knows it, the game becomes her whole life. With gilded resonance and menacing melody, Novak's poetic mirror shows how the consumptive tedium of domesticity can double for an ornate tomb—and how having a life you want sometimes means waiting for a storm to rip it apart.” —Sadie Dupuis, author of Cry Perfume

"DOMESTIREXIA is both replete and ascetic. This book tickles my brain. It’s delightfully quizzical. The poems are mixture and remix; English—American and British, French, Greek, Latin splattering, dropped into an alliterative phrasing, the assonance driving you to open and shut, move the tongue like you are baby bird feeding in a 'parish of onomatopoeia'. Novak makes language feel alive and peculiar, defamiliarized and zoo-like. I love the sensation of reading these poems aloud—thickly luxurious and 'I’m naked under this surplice, picking / varnish off my palms.'" —Arisa White, author of Who's Your Daddy?

"Novak is keenly attuned to the edges of want: how we’re soaked in desire ('beg my thicket'), while our mouths hang open to ask the rules. DOMESTIREXIA is abuzz with alarm, charm, and excess. It’s scintillating, a swarm." —Cass Donish, author of The Year of the Femme

“Mysterious and rich with allusions, the poems in DOMESTIREXIA feel physically embroidered, as if I could run my fingers over them and feel densely woven thread. This tactility has everything to do with how Novak writes desire, and also with her wildly inventive, knotty, rococo verse. I think of Sylvia Plath listening to Joanna Newsom while assembling a bouquet in Wonderland. This is an exquisite and rare collection of poetry that feels magically out of time.” —Claire Donato, author of Kind Mirrors, Ugly Ghosts

"These marvelous poems—tweezed and plucked of any stray words, hellbent on singing incantations that Lucie Brock-Broido, Alberto Giacometti, Lily Tomlin in The Incredible Shrinking Woman, and the ascetic, piggy darlings of subreddit catacomb-Edens would adore—get up to mischief that nourish me with every read. DOMESTIREXIA is an astonishing pleasure dome of lyric cake, all verve and scrumptious compression." ––Greg Wrenn, author of Mothership: A Memoir of Wonder and Crisis and Centaur

"Bladed and close, DOMESTIREXIA shivers with the intimacy of nightmares, and speaks with the authority of experience. Novak’s 'forcefields of intimacy' metabolize Sexton, Plath, and Trakl into darkly sexual fables of addiction, climate crisis, and financialization. Ghostly mothers loom over the book’s narratives and confessions, as the senseless fecundity of the natural world unsettles these speakers’ relationships to their bodies and to reason itself. Madness is never far in these tightly voiced, sometimes sing-song charms. Here are lines that vibrate with the hair-raising precision of the 'needle on nipple,' poems that wriggle and teem with life and its sense data—razored down to eerie, tilting monuments by Novak’s exacting art." ––Noah Warren, author of The Complete Stories and Destroyer in the Glass