Get Lit: HEARING THE UNDERWATER
poems by Savannah Slone
get lit is a collaboration between kara goughnour and john p. maurer. find a drink recipe based on this collection, as well as a video detailing THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE DRINK and A DRUNK REVIEW OF HEARING THE UNDERWATER at the bottom of this page.
Savannah Slone’s Hearing the Underwater is an excavation of the american, middle-class woman. it is brushing the fine bones with the slightest touch. it is trying to make them young again, or maybe even whole. it is sinking this mattock of blame deep into the ethnocentric dirt. hearing the underwater is divulging even the grime behind the sink pipes. it is exhibiting the whole laundromat’s worth in the parking lot, pointing, and saying this is mine, that is my anger. the book begins with a hot, cat-tongue lick of reality. In the opening poem, Venal Exodus, Slone parallels the loss of childhood innocence with the decompartmentalization of the womanly body, a theme common throughout the work’s entirety:
“Three sizzling ticks, pulled
loose from juvenile, hairless armpits.
Chewing tobacco forearm
application: bee stinger
These lines spit themselves out, both phonetically and thematically. From the grouping of sizzling, ticks, armpits, and stinger, the mouth is obligated to reveal the teeth, to bear itself for what is to be read.
Slone enters the place that I consider the underwater in the next poem, with her expressed self in the poem entering the shower after she is “just dirty enough to feel agitated,” which is paralleled later with the lines:
“It’s 1 a.m.
and I’m writing without being told to
and it feels dirty”
this moment is Stuck in a place where healing still feels dirty, where there is the external world and the internal being. Slone expresses this sentiment in these lines from the same poem:
“Sometimes, when I’m in the shower,
a spider will be crawling
toward me on the wet white tile wall
and I’ll be stuck
in two realms:
and awestruck observation.
That’s how I feel most of the time, really.”
After these lines, Slone describes herself in the poem as “not really here,” and suggests a venture to feel as though she is, and this is where the underwater begins. Hearing the Underwater is a pooling, white chasm of the internal, it is the face bursting out in gasps. As Slone sinks into the eternal internality of the body, she peels back the epidermis of political dissatisfaction, the dermis of attempted self-love, finds for a moment that Subcutaneous softness of love that “should be.” this is american Alice diving into wonderland with a knife in her teeth. she has got her sense about her this time. she will not be taking any answers at all.
in her poem “slice,” slone demands that [the american citizen]:
Slice your native tongue off
and stuff it into the leg of your suit
or stitch your mouth shut with a needle and thread Know that this
was an excellent business decision
there is bitterness in this poem and all the others to follow, again in both its sound and its content. one thing that a reading of hearing the underwater will guarantee you is a visceral experience for the tongue. these poems are a joy to read aloud. slone weaves sound with unfaltering expertise, and mesmerizes me with imagery, such as calling menstrual blood “Constellations of toilet trickles,” and “eyes, slow dripping faucets.” each poem bursts with anger or empowerment. each word in turn bursts from your throat.
we leave hearing the underwater behind in the same way that slone herself does in the collection’s final poem, “muzzled magic:”
First: open door. Descend porch steps. Key, ignition. Enter real world.
Savannah Slone is a queer writer who is completing her M.F.A. in the Pacific Northwest. Her poetry and short fiction has appeared in or will soon appear in Glass: A Poetry Journal, Hobart, Crab Creek Review, FIVE:2:ONE, Pidgeonholes, decomP magazinE, TERSE, Pithead Chapel, and elsewhere. She is the Poetry Editor of Boston Accent Lit and is the Editor-in-Chief of Homology Lit. She is the author of HEARING THE UNDERWATER (Finishing Line Press, 2019). She enjoys reading, knitting, hiking, and discussing intersectional feminism. You can read more of her work at www.savannahslonewriter.com.
HEARING THE UNDERWATER was published by Finishing Line Press on January 11th, 2019. AT THIS TIME, there is a live review of the book on YES Poetry, with forthcoming reviews being published by Arkana Magazine, Rhythm & Bones Lit, Luna Luna Magazine, Moonchild Magazine, and elsewhere. Slone also recently discussed this collection in an interview with Northwest Public Broadcasting (NPR). you can purchase the book on finishing line press’s website, where you can also find endorsement blurbs from poets Eduardo C. Corral, Stacey Waite, Sandra Beasley, and Blythe Baird.
VANILLA ICE CREAM
GET LIT IS A COLLABORATION BETWEEN WRITERS KARA GOUGHNOUR AND JOHN P. MAURER. kara goughnour is a queer writer and documentarian living in pittsburgh pennsylvania. she received her bachelor’s degree in creative and professional writing from the university of pittsburgh. She is the recipient of the 2018 gerald stern poetry award, and has work published or forthcoming in third point press, the southampton review, and over twenty others. John Maurer is a 24-year-old writer that writes fiction, poetry, and everything in-between, but his work always strives to portray that what is true is beautiful. He has been previously published in Claudius Speaks, The Bitchin’ Kitsch, Thought Catalog, and more than twenty others. read his collected works on his website, or follow him on twitter.
FOR A LOOK INTO THE INSPIRATION BEHIND THE DRINK, AS WELL AS A DRUNK REVIEW OF HEARING THE UNDERWATER BY SAVANNAH SLONE, WATCH THE VIDEO on youtube or below.