In Skov-Nielsen’s thrumming debut, The Knowing Animals, our consciousness is interconnected with the surrounding trees, bugs, rivers, atmospheres, and cosmos. Here, flowers escape Victorian domestication and ally with girls’ green powers of attraction. Here, the social politeness of motherly domesticity and the raw dangers of adolescent sexual awakening are shot through with blood pulsing under the skin, with oxygen exchanged in gasps of breath. Here, everything tender and petalling is also raw and mothervisceral.
This is a book of entanglements: the poems twist and turn through a plurality of metaphorical associations involving botany, zoology, astronomy, biology, psychology, and mythology to complicate and expand human conceptions of nature. At the same time, they explore themes such as motherhood, pregnancy and birth, sexuality, adolescence, and the rise of technology, all the while shifting through a variety of tones: romantic, mythological, religious, scientific, wistful, and playful.
Praise for The Knowing Animals:
“These poems prod and sing, distilling language with technical precision and the intimacy of a perceptive mind at work. Skov-Nielsen speaks to the urgency of the world we inhabit, particularly attuned to how the personal is entangled with the ecological…” — Cassidy McFadzean, author of Hacker Packer and Drolleries
“… These daring, over-the-top, five-sided, lyrical poems will keep you awake, basking in fever-bright light, rewilding and transforming your life, if you let them through the door.” — Jan Conn, author of Tomorrow’s Bright White Light
“The Knowing Animals drops an omniscient wild into multi-generational domesticity. …Like a live rabbit freed from the fox’s mouth, these poems twitch to run.” — Emily Nilsen, author of Otolith