A brilliant poetic debut about gender-based violence that dismantles received definitions of both gender and violence, Horrible Dance is an accomplished addition to transfeminist thought and theory.

By turns darkly comic, emotionally connected, playful, incisive, lyrical and irreverent, Lake’s poems navigate a harrowing personal and political terrain with understated, expansive wisdom. Lake persistently returns us to the search for love that lies at the core of relational trauma, even as she shows us how catastrophically such a search can be derailed.

This is a rare text able to hold the full velocity of a survivor’s hurt and rage alongside a clear-eyed understanding of the extent and complexity of harm. In their honest accounting of a wide array of bad encounters, these poems point us, again, toward compassion, tenderness, and solidarity.

can you forgive me
for how you hurt me so bad
—“On Shame”

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About the Writer/s

  • Avery Lake

    Avery Lake is a worker and writer living in occupied Tiohtà:ke. Lake’s poems navigate a harrowing personal and political terrain with understated, expansive wisdom.