Amanda Gomez‘s Wasting Disease is the antithesis of the vajazzled pussies of which she writes. The collection’s poems strip away social constructs, to expose naked pain. Little girls disintegrate like diseased starfish. The Jets rape Anita because she’s a brown girl. A dreamer performs her mother’s autopsy, clearing out the torso to make a maternal space for herself. Lips become scissors. And love is venomous. Gomez takes us to the brink of confusion, rage, fear, abandonment, despair—the horrors of a people in steep decline—and holds us on the precipice with a final line of disconcerting commentary, a new kind of nakedness … a lesson in scars. Read the collection. See us our worst. Hope for something better.
–Kit-Bacon Gressitt, publisher of Writers Resist
What is language in the hands of a poet? Should it yield smoothness, a polished and easy finish? That would be too easy. In the poetry of Amanda Gomez, language is above all restored to its true function, so we might trust it again and give it the proper respect— for its capacity to expand rather than merely limit experience, for its ability to render visible rather than subdue or eclipse. If an autopsy is meant to see into the flayed body, poetry is meant to lovingly return it to itself. “Please, don’t take me for tragic,” she asks; for this is a poet brave enough to “wear the galaxy like a dress.”
–Luisa A. Igloria, author of Ode to the Heart Smaller than a Pencil Eraser and The Buddha Wonders if She is Having a Mid-Life Crisis
“Amanda Gomez spares no one and no thing in her brilliant and sharp debut, Wasting Disease. ‘I guess what I am saying is, every girl / learns to disintegrate’ she tells us, not in resignation but in rage. This is a book of so many things—yes, rage, but there is so much more. Gomez writes ‘Everywhere I stare my shadow is running.’ And haven’t we all known that place? That place of self-loathing and displacement? In Wasting Disease, Gomez sticks her hands deep in the mud to pull out all the things we have buried, not to shame us, but to ask “who made us feel this way?” The fingers point in complicated directions—to gender, to race, to colonization, to language, to ourselves—but make no mistake: Wasting Disease is not a book asking you to come clean. Rather, it begs you to dance in all the facets of your humanity, light and dark.”
–Nishat Ahmed, Author of Field Guide for End Days and Brown Boy