Cover Art: Brenda Stumpf
Cover & Interior Design: Alban Fischer
Paperback, 96 pages
Dec 1 2016, ISBN 978-1-936919-47-5
About Jennifer Jackson Berry
Jennifer Jackson Berry is the author of The Feeder (YesYes Books, Nov 2016). Her newest poems are forthcoming in Duende, Split Lip Magazine, Stirring, SiDEKiCK Literary Journal, and The Indianola Review. She is the Editor of Pittsburgh Poetry Review and an Assistant Editor for WomenArts Quarterly Journal. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and is a proud member of the Madwomen in the Attic writing workshops.
The Feeder by Jennifer Jackson Berry
Fat Girl Confuses Food & Sex, Again
When I order a pizza, I am a sudden sexpot,
as if the pepperoni he’s slicing
to top my pie is as powerful as a cock,
as if the sharp bite of good pepperoni rivals a thrust.
A power passes through the phone lines.
I am confident in my sexy voice, low & lusty—
he doesn’t know I’ll eat all sixteen slices, that I’ll make love
to the hard crusty dough, let slick strings of cheese
dribble down my chin, pretending I was sexy
enough to make someone come.
About The Feeder
The Feeder by Jennifer Jackson Berry is a book of the body—an unblinking eye, a voice kicking open door after door on hushed topics of infertility, pregnancy loss, and how real bodies, in all their failings and flailings, seek and find pleasure. The poems are as secrets shared between good friends, so raw and dangerous, we can’t look away.
"In The Feeder, Jennifer Jackson Berry gives us what we crave. In an authentic, incisive voice, she instructs: …don’t swat the wasp./ Let it happen. Let the sting happen. And the sting does happen in these slicing poems of the body in delight and distress—poems of the fat girl speaking, poems of infertility, of sex and more sex, of debilitating loss. Berry delivers what so many others only strive for: the devouring of what’s gone bad and the opening up of each remaining body to see it glisten."
—Jan Beatty, author of The Switching/Yard
"I want to save you," Jennifer Jackson Berry writes, "but I’m afraid I’m carrying you like a bruise." The Feeder is a book that believes we save ourselves by showing our bruises, by finding beauty in telling our stories. Berry confronts desire and its repercussions, looking at bodies that don't often get aestheticized, and looking at sexuality that is both an offering, a threat. These poems analyze the discourse always swirling around women's bodies: I'm supposed to tell/ everyone I'm dieting, says "Fat Girl at Weight Watchers Meeting," but I bite the food & he'll love me, says the speaker in "What the Feeder Says to Me." Complicating this compelling discourse on desire are poems about a miscarriage, infertility, and marriage—and uniting it is Berry's poetic voice which braves the silencing taboos of our culture and dares to witness.
—James Allen Hall, author of I Liked You Better Before I Knew You So Well