Author: Julian T. Brolaski
Publisher: Ugly Duckling Presse (2011)
Gowanus Atropolis is an ecopoetical exploration of the Gowanus canal in Brooklyn, a recently designated superfund site that was once a fertile fishing ground for the Canarsie Native American tribe. The poems grapple with reconciling the toxicity of the titular Gowanus Canal in Brooklyn and the east river in ‘Manahatta’ with the poet’s search for the pastoral in New York City. A queer elegy for when language might have been prior to thought, where the phrase becomes the thought, rather than the other way around—so that the dystopic might become, if not utopic, at least measurable / pleasurable, ‘melodious offal.’ Gowanus atropolis reinscribes, as always already present, both queer and Native spaces in and around the Gowanus through a radical reshaping of English.
"Once in a while there are poems which create entire fresh terrain. And I'm saying too that it's hard to come home from it, locator dials set anew. I'm jangling from the return, like the world had descended upon me so quickly through the poems it was some time before I realized I was still in one piece, and minted with a beautiful little scar. Julian's deviance is a hazard of poems which bend the muscle of light. I can hardly wait to share our extra strength when we've all read them!"