Zero at the Bone
Winner, Audre Lorde Award
“Of the many ways of knowing the world, Stacie Cassarino in her elegant and poignant first book of poems, Zero at the Bone, reminds us of the primacy of the senses. She tells us ‘our mouths try to get it right’ or that the ‘mouth of the trees’ will swallow us whole, by which she means taste is the most direct authenticator of experience and also the most defenseless because it’s instruments of lips and tongue are eager. As a result, her great pre-occupation is with the vulnerability of human relationships, but as the title of the book suggests, Cassarino is fearless in her explorations of the risks. She knows ‘you’ve got to live like everything will hurt you.'”
“‘Who ever said / there was a place for you?’ the poet cries out, and Zero at the Bone urges this anxious question in each highly-wrought fibre of its lines. Cassarino’s voice ranges far and near, from the gasp and sigh of creaturely love to the dizzying spaces of American distance, whiteness, silence. Few poets these days can draw their lines so strongly as to make the white space burn like ice, but these fine and focused meditations manage that, till the black scribble of life on the page animates an actual human heat, a speck of life resisting all cold, all loss, all emptiness, while never letting us lose sight of those Furies waiting hungrily in the wings.”
“Zero At The Bone is a book of awakened sensitivities and passing glances at one’s youthful reflection (sparking everywhere). Its pleasures come from sonorous reckonings with what the eye sees there.”
—Ron Slate, On the Seawall
Stacie Cassarino lives in Brooklyn, New York and Los Angeles, California. She is a recipient of the “Discovery”/The Nation prize and the Astraea Foundation Writer’s Fund, a finalist for the Rona Jaffe Writers’ Award, and nominee twice for the Pushcart Prize. She has worked as a chef, and has held teaching positions at Middlebury College in Vermont & Pratt Institute in NYC. She is currently a candidate for the Ph.D. at UCLA.