"Because of Billiter’s Stutter we meet Scooter, Blake, Moses, Stutter, Stink, Lloyd, Ersel, Willy, Niebuhr, and Gethsemane, and we have seats reserved for us: Section 3, Row Q, Seats 11 & 12. Meanwhile we learn that a flinch is a kind of echo and an echo is what one man needs to register depths of knowledge about family, fathers and sons, confessions, and the future. Stutter’s a shapely, resonant, heartbreaking book."
—Dara Wier, author of Reverse Rapture
Billiter’s poems, spaced to stutter on the page, create a compelling yet dark world of small-town childhood that is disorienting and not all that bucolic. The town of Shinbone is an intense place: boys set bottles of cheap aftershave on fire, which segues with uncomfortable ease into grandmother’s killing axe dispatching chickens and Soup’s hand shredded in the corn dryer.
This collection pushes a recollected past to an extreme, replacing memory with myth and lacing narratives of disfigurement, accident, wildness, and murder with a strange enchantment. Childhood here is no idyll, but rather the dreamlike entryway to the desires, doubts, and dismay of adulthood.
From “Acolytes at the Altar”
Under the trestle, them carps are big as possums and bite
on doughballs. It’s cane poles and red pop all afternoon.
Stink says they got a mud vein like a catfish. I don’t
bother to check. Stink says they’s really just giant goldfish,
same as you win at the fair in them little bowls of colored
water. They just be bigger, that’s all, he says.
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