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Recommended by The New York Times, Library Journal, Buzzfeed, and selected among Top Ten Books of 2023 by Publishers Weekly

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​Katie Farris is brilliant in her imagining of survival and depends on the music of language as proof, “a language I can read/this scene has a door/I cannot close I stand/within its wedge/I stand within its shield.” Standing In the Forest of Being Alive is an enchanting book of poems that question and praise the body even as it deteriorates. You are holding in your hands words that come across as chants, as spells, as prayer.

—Jericho Brown

author of the Pulitzer Prize-winning The Tradition

Standing in the Forest of Being Alive, a collection of poems that reckon with erotic love even as the narrator is diagnosed and treated for breast cancer at the age of thirty-six, during a time of pandemic and political upheaval. With humor and honesty, the book portrays both the pleasures and the horrors of the lover, the citizen, and the medical subject. How can we find, in the midst of hell, what isn’t hell? And whom can we tell how much we want to live? An intimate, hilarious and devastating look into some of the most private moments of a life—even if they happen to occur in a medical office with six strangers looking on. The book is scheduled to be published by Alice James Books in April 2023.


“Extraordinary poems by Katie Farris—riddling, devastating, peculiarly spritely poems about death, cancer, Emily Dickinson, the limits of mind and body… The heart knocks fast with and for this poet, the top of one’s head blown off, as Emily Dickinson almost said.”

— Maureen N. McLane,

The Paris Review

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