Cover Art: Sam Rawls
Cover & Interior Design: Alban Fischer
Paperback | 126 Pages
Dec 2021 | ISBN 978-1-936919-79-6
About To Know Crush
A compelling memoir-in-verse—part love story, part social commentary, part call to action—To Know Crush by Jennifer Jackson Berry tells the full story of fat lives with complexity and humanity. This book calls for radical visibility both by the self and by others by showing how one woman came to see herself as a sexual being, how one coupling stands to upturn all the outside world thinks it knows about who deserves love. With breathless unpunctuated sections addressed to “you,” the love tumbles onto the page, then luxuriates there with bellies described as “the softest pillows in the / house” and libido that “yells for more always & always yells / for more.” This book critiques the healthcare and diet industries, airlines, department stores, pop culture, co-workers and friends—even those purported allies who call fat people brave for simply living their lives. Though years were lost to weigh-ins and misinformed doctors, cruel kids mimicking even crueler adults, ignored erogenous zones and dismissive lovers, anger is tempered with tenderness for and from a man who knows the crush of living in a fat body himself. Rage is merged with head-over-heels happiness. The way that both emotions hold space on these pages is a testament to Berry’s strength as a poet. It is time for her to hold space in the newly emerging canon of fat literature. It is time for her and this book to take up space.
To Know Crush
Finalist, CLMP Firecracker Award!
I have no origin story, no double-chinned phoenix
doubling her size rising from ashes of trauma.
No fiery ghost-fingers to expel from memory,
no fiery fingers to repel in the future.
I haven’t created layer upon layer to protect.
Nothing happened so deep I had to eat to keep
the world from seeing me.
There is no bowl of mother’s milk too empty
or too full. True I inherited a sweet tooth
but there was no binge purge cycle spun.
I am not a cautionary tale.
I am not a before picture.
About Jennifer Jackson Berry
JENNIFER JACKSON BERRY is the author of To Know Crush (YesYes Books, 2021) and The Feeder (YesYes Books, 2016). Her chapbook Bloodfish was published in 2019 by Seven Kitchens Press as part of their Keystone Chapbook Series. She lives in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania.