Fetal Position

Fetal Position

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Author: Holly Melgard

Publisher: Roof Books (2021)

Fetal Position is a poetic study of different forms of labor in scenes of their emergence such as the noise of being born and transmissions of inter-generational violence. Here, voices speak who Melgard herself is not—or not yet—but who the poet operates in relation to becoming (potential parent, aspiring full-time employee, deranged cat lady, a hurt person automated to reproduce harm), all of whom work to navigate futures in foreclosure.

“Right. Yeah. No yeah. Yeah no exactly. Holly Melgard writes what it is like to be human, and what it is like to be a cat, and what it is like to not know what it’s supposed to feel like, where language buckles under. She writes the truth.”

–Jackie Ess

“In Melgard’s book, a question seems to linger. Something like, is writing a way to be ‘born again’ as offspring are a sort of legacy and generative assortment? Is a so-called ‘labor of love’ the desired outcome? As reader my body answered with gut laughter and unironic tears and absolute admiration for Fetal Position being a ‘meditation on the form.’ A sublimation of a whole cohort’s deferment, this work is a work that reads you back.”

–Liz Howard

“What are the differences between labor, laboring, labored, laborious and over-labored? Fetal Position transcribes the sounds and contexts under which labor is birthed, belabored, codified, intensified, exhaled, expelled, taught, expropriated and terminated. To labor is to produce, and the production of labor turns out to be labor also. Here, our labors are transcribed laboriously, oppressively and with violence. A stunning expansion of the labored practices of labor and its underbelly, which happens to be us.”

–Tan Lin