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Memorial with Liminal Space

Equal parts tender and heartbreaking, Mitchell Untch's Memorial With Liminal Space investigates the many intersections of survivor's guilt and queer identity.

“Poetry cannot best death. But poetry can make the best of it. ‘I need an answer. There are no answers,’ wisely writes Mitchell Untch. This talented poet pens a thesaurus of longing with his first book. His lyrics multiply with the nuances of loss: mainly the speaker’s twin from AIDS, but also the loss of a platonic Midwestern girlfriend—I’ve never read of this kind of unseen love in a more definitive manner…. Editors were ‘floored’ by these poems. Little wonder. Reader, be floored.”

—Spencer Reece, selected by Louise Glück

as winner of the Bakeless Prize, for The Clerks Tale

“The focus of Mitchell Untch's stunning debut collection, Memorial with Liminal Space, pivots on leaving, leaving behind, having left, the undiscovered treasure or detritus. With gorgeous imagery, the poet searches for answers where there are none available—in nurses' stations, carnival booths, bodies of lovers, the past. Even Ronnie and Nancy Reagan, turn away in 1980's AID's pandemic blindness. Too much pain. Too much exquisite pain. As he writes in Better Angels II, No one was listening, and we had become fewer and less, / voices like brooms over sidewalks. If reason needs to find its way, the poems in Memorial with Liminal Space unearth a hidden pathway within. El Dorado. Atlantis. Shangri La. Eden."

—Laurel Ann Bogen, author of The Misread City and

winner of the Academy of American Poets Award

"The gorgeous and moving poems of Mitchell Untch’s Memorial with Liminal Space begin by looking back unflinchingly at the suffering and death of his twin brother from the HIV virus. We follow this poet as he laments through the 'corridors of grief.' And as he continues to journey into rooms and scenes from his past, he discovers he can cast a new, prismatic light on those dark moments, turning despair into grace and beauty. Mitchell Untch demonstrates, with his attentiveness to sensual details, how much there is to celebrate and sing: 'the hummingbird’s / bright delving, a wakefulness that / cannot be described except that / it lives.'"

—Molly Bendall, author of Watchful

Cover Artist: Caspar David Friedrich

Cover Designer: Sally Franckowiak & Jerrod Schwarz

Mitchell Untch is an emerging writer. Partial publications include Beloit Poetry Journal, Poet Lore, North American Review, Confrontation, Nimrod Intl, Natural Bridge, Owen Wister, Solo Novo, Knockout: Baltimore Review, Lake Effect, The Catamaran Reader, Grey Sparrow, Illuminations, Tusculum Review, Telluride Institute, West Trade Review, Wax Paper, Crab Orchard Review Book Contest Semi-finalist 2017, Orison First Book Contest 2017 Finalist, & two-time Pushcart Nominee.

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