Exploring the languages of anatomy, etymology and incantation, these poems spark conversations about fracture and repair, energy, love and danger.
‘The Agonist exists somewhere between a haunted forest and a dissecting bench, demonstrating that the realities of the physical body are just as strange (and terrifying) as anything in fable or myth. At once tender and forensic, Shastra Deo’s poems ask what it means to inhabit a body which collects its own souvenirs of experience, and from which it is impossible to gain reprieve. This is a poetry of blood, smoke and communion – where one is as likely to encounter a boxer’s knuckles as the velvet of antlers; where tiny fish swimming in the lungs of the drowned are as present as a lover’s hands. A striking and memorable debut.’ Chloe Wilson, author of Not Fox Nor Axe