Winner of the Walt Whitman Award, this collection confronts the dark questions and menacing silences around gender, sexuality, and violence. Brute arises, from the dissolution of a relationship, showing how such endings necessitate self-discovery and reinvention.
... Emily Skaja writes with astonishing skill and versatility ... Variety is Skaja’s game: she deploys non-sequiturs and elliptical imagery with surgical precision, seeking power in contradiction, masking a drama impossible to disguise ... [Skaja's] emotional range keeps extending as the collection unfolds ... Emily Skaja brings an inventive imagination and fearless pursuit of craft to Brute, a voice fully formed in a captivating first book. We can expect great things from her in the future.
We take pedestrian objects for granted; but for Skaja, mundane landscapes mean so much more ... Skaja knows exactly how to engage nature, readers, and life. Her diverse poetics prove her broad range of skills. She takes risks. Her poems range from narrative to free verse, several of which use free association to encapsulate metaphors. All poems in Brute flow with precision and ease.