Ask, Can we for a moment make of beauty / the measure of our pain? and I will answer. To be ill is to be a body bursting with strangers. A curiosity. A narrative to interpret. Dominik Parisien's debut collection is a poignant celebration of the complicated lived experience of disability, a challenge to the societal gaze, and a bold reconfiguration of the language of pain. A powerful contribution to the field of disability poetics, Side Effects May Include Strangers is an affecting look at the multitude of ways a body is both boundary and boundless. Parisien takes bpNichol's claim that "what is a poem is inside of your body" and localizes the inner and outer lives of disabled, queer, and aging bodies as points of meaning for issues of autonomy, disability, sexuality, and language. Balancing hope and uncertainty, anger and gratitude, these poems shift from medical practice to myth, from trauma to intergenerational friendship, in an unflinching exploration of the beauty and complexity of othered bodies.
About the Author
Dominik Parisien is a writer, editor, and poet and the author of the chapbook We, Old Young Ones. He lives in Toronto.
"I have to admit I was not prepared for how exquisite the first poem is in [...] Side Effects May Include Strangers. It is the kind of poem that, for a poet when you read it, it gives you an immediate sense of satisfaction, and also tendrils of envy which for me marks the quality of an excellent poem. It is the kind of poem that for a young poet with a first book says I have arrived." The Miramichi Reader
"If 'words are artificial / constructs we impose / on natural phenomena,' then communicating the elemental human experience of love and pain requires a new lexicon. Fortunately, Dominik Parisien gifts us a new vocabulary for the inexpressible in this lumi
"Dominik Parisien's Side Effects May Include Strangers shines light onto and into the lives of medicalized, queered, and disabled bodies. In their venous fireworks, these poems are astonishing flares that illuminate a seized body 'bursting with strangers,