The Engineers



“In her long-anticipated fourth collection, The Engineers, Katy Lederer draws on the newfangled languages of reproductive technology, genetic engineering, and global warming to ask the age-old questions: What is “the self”? What is “the other”? How to reproduce “one’s self”? In poems that are both lyrical and playfully autobiographical, Lederer imagines form as a kind of genetics, synthesizing lines out of a rigorous constraint. Things can go wrong. The body—or poem—malfunctions, evacuating crucial parts of itself (miscarriage), or growing too aggressively or quickly (cancer). The body—or poem—attacks or even eats itself (autoimmune dysfunction; autophagy). Written almost entirely in the choral “we,” the poems move among the perspectives of the bewildered parent, the unborn child, and the inscrutable God who looks down upon the human world. In a post-Roe landscape, the poems complicate and ultimately refashion our pre-conceived notions of the self—and of life. Radical, uncanny, and stunningly original, The Engineers takes us on a journey to a place we’ve never been, but that is hauntingly familiar.”

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