Winner of the 2017 Moon City Poetry Award
Clayton Adam Clark’s A Finitude of Skin opens with Missouri, its fissures and declivities and hidden chambers:
Blame it on the limestone—the sinkholes,
the speleological interest, an overwhelming
karstness here. People get lost.
And indeed, people do get lost. The poems in A Finitude of Skin depict the acting and interacting of so many bodies, from bacteria to armadillos, from seed ticks to an oak tree so big you can’t wrap your arms around it. It’s in this environment that a narrative takes shape: a couple coming together and then, like everything else, breaking apart. By braiding the language and imagery of these bodies, Clark’s verse reflects the complicated ecosystem two people can form, honing in on the strange places they make contact, and don’t. Once we become entrenched in these Cave State landscapes and the goings-on of all these bodies, we can see and feel the many ways, “life there is vulnerable to disruption.”