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The Flesh Between Us

The Flesh Between Us

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Tory Adkisson


Paperback (Other formats: E-book)
92 pages, 6 x 9

Crab Orchard Series in Poetry


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About the Book

Eroticism cut from classical mythology, ritual, and intimacy
In The Flesh Between Us the speaker explores our connections to each other, whether they be lovely or painful, static or constantly shifting, or, above all, unavoidable and necessary. Intensely and unapologetically homoerotic in content and theme, The Flesh Between Us sensuously conducts the meetings between strangers, between lovers, between friends and family, between eater and eaten, between the soul and the body that contains it. Pushing the boundaries of what has been traditionally acceptable for gay and erotic content and themes, the poems adapt persona, Greek mythology, Judaism, and classic poetic forms to interrogate the speaker’s relationship to god and faith, to love and sex, to mother and father. 
Stark and mythical, the imagery draws from the language of animals and nature. Episodes of kink tangle with creatures of forests and lore. In this tumult, the lines of poetry keep a sense of boundary and distance by the seeming incompatibility of their subjects: daybreak and dissection, human and insect, worship and reality. The touch of irreconcilable bodies, in Adkisson’s language, intimates the precise moment of love. The idea of love moves viscerally through rib, lung, throat, and mouth. The poems show how flesh opens in so many ways, in prayers, in bleeds, in ruts. The flesh, opened, begins to swell. If there is guilt in this, Adkisson’s poems refuse the placid satisfaction of confession. Whatever attachments the reader dares to draw must be made with blade or tongue. The reader must commit to the potential violence narrated by these poems.


Tory Adkisson’s work has been featured in anthologies such as Best New Poets and Queer Nature. His poems have appeared in Crazyhorse, the Adroit JournalLos Angeles ReviewBoston Review, and Cimarron Review


“Tory Adkisson’s poems are fervent, vulnerable. He illuminates the ‘wilderness of flesh’ that divides and connects us. I found myself leaning closer to his lyricism, his courage, his inventiveness. The Flesh Between Us is a powerful debut, rich with language that startles, lingers.”—Eduardo C. Corral, author of Guillotine!
“Adkisson’s stunning debut examines relationships in all their forms—familial, romantic, literary, mythic, and erotic. As the title The Flesh Between Us so powerfully suggests, Adkisson looks at connection and its limitations, studying the difference between intimacy and attachment through the touchstone of flesh. These deeply sensual poems rove through an evolving pantheon of gods ‘thriving on quiet moments of violence’ that seem natural and tender despite their darkness. Adkisson lets readers revel in the sumptuous pleasures of his lines but recognizes each of these intimacies comes with an inevitable departure that is, yes, cruel, but also sweet. These losses are like this book: unforgettable.”—Traci Brimhall, author of Rookery and Come the Slumberless to the Land of Nod
“Adkisson is a classical poet with a hard style. He can be both funny and dark. I admire his emotionalism when writing about love, lost love and the dangers of loving. His poems mix autobiography with myth as he tries to make sense of the chaos around him. His poems have backbone, and I admire this, too.”—Henri Cole, author of Blizzard and Orphic Paris

“In finely tuned portraits, aubades and anecdotes, Adkisson precisely examines queer love and the body, allowing the human enterprise its adjacency to a wilder world—animal, vegetal and sexual. He assembles, in essence, a poetry bestiary, where all of our senses are heightened, alert to both danger and ecstasy. Reading The Flesh Between Us, I couldn’t help but think of tide pools teeming with life, entire redolent worlds in which the intimacy and industry of living and dying are experienced in a brief bright moment of awe.”—Kathy Fagan, author of Sycamore

"Tory Adkisson’s The Flesh Between Uscharts the mythic within the body itself, revealing a landscape of intimacy made of bone and muscle and blood, with verses meant to create “a new/ species of mystery: hybrid forms/ born to be sentient & buzzing.” These are poems of longing, poems that examine the self within a dialogue of flesh, poems that explore the encounter, where “the kink of your tongue/ will always be like a word// of prayer against my palate.” With The Flesh Between Us, Adkisson lays bare the love and loss held within the winged form of the human body."—Brian Turner, author of Here, Bullet

“At the core of The Flesh Between Us, then—and one begins to appreciate, perhaps, the many resonances of that title—lies a profound mystery, that paradox that exists in the linkage between love and sexuality. These are ambitious ideas, but Adkisson handles them with great verve, thinking through imagery in sophisticated ways.”—Preposition