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Vanessa Couto Johnson Book Launch
December 15, 2018 @ 7:00 pm - 8:00 pm
Join us in celebrating the launch of Vanessa Couto Johnson’s first full-length poetry collection, Pungent dins concentric (Tolsun Books).
Pungent dins concentric . . . is bounteous and exhilarating, even as it aces the heavy lifting of the book’s real and often startling wisdom. In the delectable world of these poems, “the properties of bellies are what lead us” in a “life, not fare, but air-letting. We all lung for.” With lightning quick “voracity veracity velocity” this book invites us to “laugh until full, until body itself is a world.” “Elegant in the mathematical sense,” wry but confident pronouncements amount to a love song to the pleasure and puzzlement of sentient sensuality, onomatopoetically delivering the very delight and savor these “polylingual spoon nutrients, crave and carve and cave of / deepening morphemes” describe.
Propelled by extraordinary imaginative force, the poems of Vanessa Couto Johnson’s dazzling pungent dins concentric unfold in a sequence of evocations, each one summoning into view a moment of bustle in a specific but overloaded social space. The works are built of sentences, swirling syntactic image structures that seem to be the outcome of critical attention to the strangeness of the world around us. Linguistic wit and sassy irreverence partially veil Johnson’s dismay, but they cannot veil the poet’s ebullient joie de vivre.
Vanessa Couto Johnson has written a tantalizing book, full of quick moves, wild associations, and linguistic flair. In pungent dins concentric, our world of dailiness is in considerable disarray: language calls out differences: seams don’t quite match and words lose their constancy (“I said celibate, not celebrate,” “no wrestling matte today.”) With meaning unstuck and liberty to disconnect or form new connections, the poems arrive at new truths, moments of hilarity and insight.
Vanessa Couto Johnson’s first full-length book is pungent dins concentric (Tolsun Books, 2018). “Try the yen relish,” a sixteen-page prose poem sequence, was released in a first BoxSet from Oxidant | Engine in March 2018. Her chapbooks are speech rinse, winner of Slope Editions’ 2016 Chapbook Contest; rotoscoping collage in Cork City (dancing girl press, 2016); and Life of Francis, winner of Gambling the Aisle’s 2014 Chapbook Contest. Softblow, Thrush, Field, Blackbird, Cheat River Review, Cream City Review, and other journals and anthologies have featured her poetry. Most recently, four constraint-based erasure poems appeared in Surrealists and Outsiders 2018: I Wagered Deep On the Run of Six Rats to See Which Would Catch the First Fire (Thrice Publishing). A Brazilian born in Texas (dual citizen) and two-time Pushcart Prize nominee, she is currently a Lecturer at Texas State University, where she earned her MFA.