Fearful Beloved

Fearful Beloved

BY khadijah queen

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The haunting, haunted world revealed in Khadijah Queen’s Fearful Beloved stays with the reader in an uncomfortably pleasurable way, and heightens awareness of our own world’s deep horrors and ordinary brilliance. Anyone who has been unable to shake the erotic brutality of, say, Sylvia Plath’s Ariel will savor the “bruisable monuments” that Queen offers. Here Queen crafts a language that unfolds along multiple axes (spatial, temporal, emotional, spiritual) and is experimental with form while remaining seamless, precise, and vivid as “The song she sang as a little girl feeding ants.” Addressing Fear head-on—“your spectrality exists,” she insists—Queen’s Fearful Beloved evidences the fierce intelligence of “a body in its own time, possessed of itself.”

Praise for Fearful Beloved

Khadijah Queen’s Fearful Beloved is an audacious gaze at the public and private spaces where we often fear, in our words and acts, to address the body of fear itself. Queen gives her fear inestimable flesh and her poetry insists, as readers and bodies, that we must not look away from our own spines and mirrors. She writes, “if you listen – not you, fear,/but us, as you – deciding how to exist”. Her vision of bodies, intricately complex as her astonishing syntax, gleams with the tension of power, desire, mortality, and violence. Burning, and nuanced, Queen dares us to name our deepest bones, “O/let godliness and beastliness crash/together until compliance/O/love them all/O say every one of their names.”  Here you will discover a language of marrow, brilliant and potent as bloodroot. Here, in Fearful Beloved, you will witness the velocity of Queen’s distinct voice, intense and profound in its survival. —Rachel Eliza Griffiths

Khadijah Queen’s Fearful Beloved is a bold mosaic of forms, and each poem is a shade of aching. Together, they shape fiercely potent letters to fear; feminine and power and despair; the demolition of the contemplative house. —Lily Hoang

Fear, like any organism, rushes to reproduce, but more than survival it values reach. In the grout, on the nerves, across oceans, at the root. Foolhardy, slamming every door, heightening each wave. Until Khadijah Queen speaks fear’s name with intention, shows us how to apply the bloodroot. Barehanded. Bare leaden voice, spine of steel that somehow bends. Cross, uncross your arms, your saltwater heart. Let her in, beloved. —Danielle Pafunda

Queen’s Fearful Beloved is a beautiful book, haunting and haunted. The architecture of the house entangles with the architecture of the body to produce a language at once beguiling and strange, yet fused with the fiercest love. —Kate Durbin

Fear can make us its dwelling place; it can have us haunting our own house.  Khadijah Queen writes us through the rooms of the forest, the limits of shelter, from what we needed once to what we might be free to become without it. Fearful Beloved speaks directly along the lines of rootedness and growth, the blasting or freeing power of something seemingly small, the way a person shaped by fear “strikes at movements invisible to those accustomed to the light.” When you can see yourself to save yourself, that is when you can begin. —Kate Schapira

Khadijah Queen is the author of three books and three chapbooks. Individual poems appear or are forthcoming in Fence, jubilat, RHINO, Aufgabe, Best American Nonrequired Reading, The Force of What’s Possible and widely elsewhere. She is the 2014 winner of the Leslie Scalapino Award for Innovative Performance Writing, which includes a staged production of her verse play Non-sequitur in 2015. Visit her website: khadijahqueen.com