Read Butcher's Tree by Feng Sun Chen Online

Title : Butcher's Tree
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9780984475247
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 104 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

Butcher's Tree Reviews

  • J.A.
    2019-02-09 21:47

    Butcher's Tree is full of teeth and redness, swelling boney violence. The final movement "Grendel is a Woman" is particularly well-crafted and biting, a last chomp as you are exiting Chen's poetics. Yet another fantastic book in the seemingly boundless catalog of Black Ocean.

  • Robert Kloss
    2019-01-19 16:41

    Like all Black Ocean books this is a magnificent collection. "Grendel is a Woman", the 38 page poem that concludes the volume, is the kind of art I dream about but rarely find.

  • Joe
    2019-02-03 20:43

    Reading Butcher’s Tree, it seems like Feng Chen can do just about anything. While it would be easy to pigeon-hole this work within veins of poetry that are working to trouble conceptions of the body, gender, and humanness and Feng’s own interest in Post-Human poetics, this is I think to miss out on a lot. What more it is or might be I can’t describe good but maybe better through these notes.1st Poem, “By the Dark”: “Maybe they have a train to catchor the field of soft stone is a field of milk teeththey cannot sleep as dreams snag in the esophagus tear through twin hearted fleshthrough bones made of shale.One can see the other’s rage.His rage is small but dense. It catches the wet lightby its webbed gravity.…Not going anywhere.His two hearts are growing teeth.”Proposes the land as bodied and the body as land. Though these equivalencies aren’t the ultimate point. The body is more—it is itself changing places with itself, the heart growing bones, the seat of the human ‘spirit,’ moved closer to that which tears, grinds and is not alive, the portals of the body. That there are also two hearts—the body itself lacking a center or cohesion. And the webbed, sticky rage. Constellations, networks, structures without centers. An image used to assert a particularly contemporary sense of being, resulting, and causing. Metaphysics? I first encountered this like most in Benjamin in the form of a constellation where what is important are the points and that which connects them is the mind perceiving relations. I don’t know Deleuze and get the rhizomatic thing second hand but it seems like these constellations planted. Roots, though, are often dry. Here they are sticky, viscous, the web which doesn’t bring forward a plant but is simply a mesh converting life to unlife and so on. The stickiness of the web that catches things is elaborated on in a collection full of membranes, messy efflorescences, pulp, reaching its climax in the absurd, powerful “Neon Parade” where the poem paints the reader as a clown proceeding down a world saturated with rain on stilts that sink further and further into the mud with each step, each step. Here Chen moves closer to the visqueux--another concept I am probably mangling—a vision of the world as “an undifferentiated gelatinous mess.” There’s a doubleness here: both a radical assertion of a world view and a sly commentary on the act of reading? I’ve been wondering where these slimy assertions of the world are coming from. They appear also in the torrents and hypersaturations of Blake Butler’s Scorch Atlas. Lightning through jello. I could put forward a lot of dumb theories of my own but I’ll go with what the book itself provides in the poem “The Living” which opposes the potato like fact of a body—“My true face is that of a potato. I have many eyes, but see nothing”—that perceives in a multifaceted, decentralized way (and not through sight) to a skepticism of sight—“I am afraid too much sight can kill me” (43) and perhaps sight-based knowledge –“I drink with my eyes. When I try to explain anything, some part of something, somebody dies.” This situation, the roving, eye is basically the internet: “Eyes are like rubber tires. They take you places. / Do a lot of traveling. I try not to puncture mine, but they leak. / My great fear has always been immediacy. / Being pulled from a vapor state to the body world” (50). Make conclusions from this.There’s great facility here, a movement between forms and syntaxes, assertions and indirections, and sympathy for how people want to see things that makes everything I’m typing wrong. Step 2: read it, then. “The Midwest has the sort of personality / that makes me worship cold blank plains / like the face of someone I want love from, basic needs / tied up in a cloth sack, everything in it hard and dry / and clean.”

  • Stephanie Wytovich
    2019-01-22 18:34

    Butcher’s Tree is a collection full of bite. The poetry within eats at human desire and digests the claims of mortality and the divine will to die. Chen uses body horror and surrealist visuals to describe his characters and what they are going through, and as a result, readers are thrown into a world of hanging limbs, sensual organs, and emotions that feel, rather than are felt. His monsters are everyone and no one, everything and nothing, and they are made from tissue, made from sky, made from sea, entering the brains of their audience with sharp talons and poisonous lips, lobotomizing and controlling them from the very first page. Highly recommended.

  • Jai
    2019-01-30 18:43

    Emptied peanut butter jars are evidence of The Great Mutato’s presence in The X-Files episode “Post-Modern Prometheus.” A rejected genetic creation of Frankenstein-like scientist Dr. Pollidori, The Great Mutato’s deformities banish him to a dark cellar, where he eats peanut butter sandwiches and hungers for human connection. Feng Sun Chen’s Butcher’s Tree excavates the cavities in which such mythic, hybrid and feral figures as The Great Mutato, Prometheus, Wukong and Grendel dwell and, by placing a mouth to the opening, “eat[s them] up from the inside” (5). READ MORE AT LANTERN REVIEW:

  • C
    2019-02-01 20:49


  • Edward Rathke
    2019-01-24 23:37

    This is a great collection that gets much better as it goes. Grendel is a Woman is absolutely fantastic.

  • Cassandra Troyan
    2019-02-16 18:55

    This book gave me days of beautiful night terrors; especially the character Grendel who was somewhere caught between "The Little Mermaid" and "The Elephant Man".

  • Greg Bem
    2019-01-29 18:54

    I felt my insides curled and tripping over the text and the stories therein, destined to perhaps echo mythology or perhaps become beyond any icon.

  • Lauren
    2019-01-19 16:51

    I liked the book, and am looking forward to Chen's next collection. This is not a complaint, but why no bio?

  • Jaredjosephjaredjoseph harveyharvey
    2019-02-07 23:46

    All my mothers say yes.

  • Clark Knowles
    2019-02-01 16:54

    A strange and hypnotic collection of poetry.