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Jennifer Tamayo


This sold-out chapbook is available as a free book. Read or download the PDF here.

Poems Are the Only Real Bodies is also included in our first chapbook-compliation volume, BOUND: The First Array.

Praise for Poems Are the Only Real Bodies

“It doesn’t seem wrong to call this text iconoclastic. Tamayo doesn’t smash the statue of Tubman, but does ‘dangle from [her] big hand like a metaphor: I’m the slobbery noodle.’ Other idols these bodies try to undo from the inside out: art as collaboration between maker and viewer; art (or bodies) as neutral, innocuous, safe, nonviolent; the idols of the past as bodiless and saintly; choices as real. In the anatomy Tamayo provides, writing something means invading it, means filling its body with your body. To write about is to write into. To read is to be written into. The most coalescing and compelling word in these bodies was the compressed word ‘sobject’—we may sob when we’re physically hurt, or in the pleasure/pain of sex, or in pleasure when we bite into something delicious, or in anguished loss or frustrated rage. …An epistle may be a letter—often meant for more than one reader—or an argument or assertion or coercion in the form of a letter, wearing a letter’s skin in order to get in. There’s a simultaneous sense of intimacy and an armed (many-armed) invasion of privacy. Do these e-pistols make me a sobject? Do they take me over, use me, fuse with me, expose me; do they wear me like a skin? Sometimes. Reading the lines of these bodies, my strongest reaction is often to push back against them, not wanting them to be true, but having a hard time rejecting or resisting them entirely. They march me queasily to their truths: ‘There is a pleasure to the body torn to pieces.'” —Kate Schapira, Small Press Book Review

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June 2013
Chapbook, Limited edition
7 x 7, 28 pages
Full color 80 lb. cover
Natural white interior
Machine sewn in a zigzag stitch

2 interior photographs (b&w in the chap & PDF, color in BOUND)

Poems Are the Only Real Bodies was the fourth chapbook in the 2012–2013 series from Bloof Books. Each chapbook in the series was released in a limited edition of one hundred numbered copies, followed by a digital release. Poems Are the Only Real Bodies is also included in out first chapbook-compilation paperback, BOUND: The First Array.

A collection of letters to the historical object, Harriet Tubman (aka Araminta Ross/The Conductor/Moses) the sequence considers the pleasures and difficulties of what it means to encounter and experience a radiant historical figure—how do subjectivities collide? How does poetry service the body? Most of the chapbook was written in situ at the Harriet Tubman Memorial Triangle in Harlem, the neighborhood in which Tamayo both lives and works.

The design concept of Poems Are the Only Real Bodies included a detail of one of the interior illustations—JT with a statue of Harriet Tubman in Harlem—and the colors are inspired by a popular fast-food chain located in the same plaza, which also appears in the poem. One hundred copies were machine-sewn in variations of orange, white and pink.

Additional information


Tamayo, Jennifer