Christine Shan Shan Hou’s The Joy and Terror Are Both in the Swallowing offers a new mythology for our “smooth and violent era”.
Together, these poems map a constellation of desire, addressing “the female pleasure gap,” the exhilaration of submission, and all the mundanity and peculiarities of planetary life. Hou asserts that “you cannot rely on algorithms to take you to your destination,” instead arduously pushing past habits, expectations, instincts, and other “nameless forces”, toward the singular spark of enlightenment.
In these fable-like poems, readers traverse landscapes both foreign and familiar. The result is a peregrination towards an afterlife “opaque & without backstory”, where tame animals return to the wild and nature forgives us for our failures.
The Joy and Terror Are Both in the Swallowing by Christine Shan Shan Hou
After Hours Edition, March 2021 (ISBN 9781733408233)