A Finitude of Skin

$14.95 $11.21

Clayton Adam Clark
61 pages, 5 ½ × 8 ½
978–0–913785–74–4 (paper)
November 2018


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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.”

Clayton Adam Clark lives in Saint Louis, his hometown, where he works as a public health researcher and volunteers for River Styx magazine. A Finitude of Skin is his first full-length poetry collection, and his poems have appeared in The Massachusetts Review, Mid-American Review, Cimarron Review, and elsewhere. He earned the MFA in creative writing at Ohio State University and is studying clinical mental health counseling at University of Missouri-St. Louis.

“Clayton Adam Clark’s A Finitude of Skin is a deftly complex recounting of the dissolution of a marriage and also a meditation on the physiology the lovers contain and the geology that contains them, all subject to breaking down. Missouri and the Mississippi River are part and parcel of the islands, rivers and rivulets of the human body, and vice versa. Clark’s capacious vision and his strenuous poetry will enthrall and enlarge his readers.”
—Andrew Hudgins, author of A Clown at Midnight: Poems and The Joker: A Memoir

“This book pulled me through its pages with the strength of a major river current. With its incredible intimacy of attention and rigor of the senses, A Finitude of Skin clarifies and softens the under-sung boundaries between subjects and landscapes. The driving, structured lyrics that comprise Clark’s moving portrait of self and environment build and grow into what feels like a tributary system of connection between physics and emotion, marriage and grief, entropy and survival, and home and place. Clark’s poetry is capable of illuminating a world in which the experience of being human is a process in which blood will one day return ‘from the farthest reaches of your heart.’ Let it.”
—Lo Kwa Mei-en, author of The Bees Make Money in the Lion

Distributed for Moon City Press.

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