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  • Published: 15 October 2017
  • ISBN: 9780143131700
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 96
  • RRP: $32.99

Madness




An “astounding” (Terrance Hayes) debut collection of poems – Winner of the 2016 National Poetry Series Competition

In this ­­­powerful debut collection, sam sax explores and explodes the linkages between desire, addiction, and the history of mental health. These brave, formally dexterous poems examine antiquated diagnoses and procedures from hysteria to lobotomy; offer meditations on risky sex; and take up the poet’s personal and family histories as mental health patients and practitioners. Ultimately, Madness attempts to build a queer lineage out of inherited language and cultural artifacts; these poems trouble the static categories of sanity, heterosexuality, masculinity, normality, and health. sax’s innovative collection embodies the strange and disjunctive workings of the mind as it grapples to make sense of the world around it.

  • Published: 15 October 2017
  • ISBN: 9780143131700
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 96
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Roald Dahl

When he was at school Roald Dahl received terrible reports for his writing - with one teacher actually writing in his report, 'I have never met a boy who so persistently writes the exact opposite of what he means. He seems incapable of marshalling his thoughts on paper!' After finishing school Roald Dahl, in search of adventure, travelled to East Africa to work for a company called Shell. In Africa he learnt to speak Swahili, drove from diamond mines to gold mines, and survived a bout of malaria where his temperature reached 105.5 degrees (that's very high!). With the outbreak of the Second World War Roald Dahl joined the RAF. But being nearly two metres tall he found himself squashed into his fighter plane, knees around his ears and head jutting forward. Tragically of the 20 men in his squadron, Roald Dahl was one of only three to survive. Roald wrote about these experiences in his books Boy and Going Solo. Later in the war Roald Dahl was sent to America. It was there that he met famous author C.S. Forester (author of the Captain Hornblower series) who asked the young pilot to write down his war experiences for a story he was writing. Forester was amazed by the result, telling Roald 'I'm bowled over. Your piece is marvellous. It is the work of a gifted writer. I didn't touch a word of it.' (an opinion which would have been news to Roald's early teachers!). Forester sent Roald Dahl's work straight to the Saturday Evening Post. Roald Dahl's growing success as an author led him to meet many famous people including Walt Disney, Franklin Roosevelt, and the movie star Patricia Neal. Patricia and Roald were married only one year after they met! The couple bought a house in Great Missenden called Gipsy House. It was here that Roald Dahl began to tell his five children made-up bedtime stories and from those that he began to consider writing stories for children. An old wooden shed in the back garden, with a wingbacked armchair, a sleeping bag to keep out the cold, an old suitcase to prop his feet on and always, always six yellow pencils at his hand, was where Roald created the worlds of The BFG, The Witches, James and the Giant Peach, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory and many, many more.

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Praise for Madness

Advance Praise for Madness:   “Madness is a wild, resolute book. An exposed, unbridled energy drives its emotional truths while virtuoso technique undergirds its formal and intellectual authority. Sections lead with poems entitled ‘Psychotherapy’ and feature idiosyncratic songs, dramas and hallucinatory intensities. This is a fine, otherworldly madness. This is an ardent, vulnerable madness. This is an astounding debut. sam sax is an astounding poet.” – Terrance Hayes “I message you from the restive belly of these poems. I entered willingly, was knocked to my knees and gradually realized there was no way out.  Behind some of these doors was sex that pulsed rampant and slipsilver; behind others were at least a dozen darknesses bulging frantically.  However, this is not an urgent message. I do not desire rescue. I was born addicted to terror as lyric. This is a madness I relish.” – Patricia Smith  "These are poems so unapologetically fierce and filthy they are holy. It’s so rare to read words that know they are pushed to the brink, bringing their reader to an edge that didn’t exist before. I’m astonished at the peculiarity and specificity of this poet’s vision—it is a vision that encompasses all the other senses, which gathers and displays the senses it’s quite possible we didn’t have before, or took leave of, or have yet to grow." - Brenda Shaughnessey

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