J.C. Mehta
Savagery

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Savagery joins Mehta's oeuvre as a reflection of what it means to be indigenous in today's increasingly hostile, post-colonial America. Reflecting on self, place, and space and with strong confessional leanings, Savagery joins the ranks of other much-needed indigenous poetry of the era to provide a lens (and mirror) into indigenous issues and disparities while also providing a constant offering of hope. These poems are raw and very, very necessary.

Cover design: Beth Ford
ISBN: 978-1950404001
Paperback: $16
Publication date: August 20, 2019

JC Mehta is a multi-award-winning poet and author of over one dozen books. She’s currently a poetry editor at Bending Genres Literary Review, Airlie Press, and the peer-reviewed Exclamat!on journal. During 2018-19, she was a fellow at Halcyon Arts Lab in Washington DC where she curated an anthology of poetry by incarcerated indigenous women and created “Red/Act,” a pop-up virtual reality poetry experience using proprietary software. As a citizen of the Cherokee Nation and native Oregonian, place and personal ancestry inform much of Mehta’s creative work.

Mehta's novel The Wrong Kind of Indian won gold at the 2019 Independent Publisher Book Awards (IPPYs). They has also received numerous visiting fellowships in recent years, including the Everett Helm Visiting Fellowship at the Lilly Library at Indiana University at Bloomington and the Eccles Centre Visiting Fellowship at The British Library. Visual representations of her work have been featured at galleries and exhibitions around the world including IA&A Hillyer in Washington DC and The Emergency Gallery in Sweden. Mehta is a popular speaker and panelist, featured recently at events like the US State Department’s National Poetry Month event, “Poets as Cultural Emissaries: A Conversation with Women Writers,” as well as the “Women’s Transatlantic Prison Activism Since 1960” symposium at Oxford University.

Mehta is also the owner of a multi-award-winning writing company and founder of the Jessica Tyner Scholarship Fund, the only scholarship exclusively for Native Americans pursuing an advanced degree in writing. She has undertaken poetry residencies around the globe including at Hosking Houses Trust with an appointment at the Shakespeare Birthplace Trust in Stratford-Upon-Avon, England and the Acequia Madre House in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Her doctoral research focuses on the intersection of poetry and eating disorders.

Learn more about Mehta's creative work at www.jessicamehta.com.


Praise for Savagery

The stories in these poems are necessary. The stories in these poems are fearlessly truthful. This book is inspiring, and relevant to us all.”

— Kondwani Fidel, author of Raw Wounds and Hummingbirds in The Trenches

Excerpt from Savagery
 

The Heart Consumes Itself

It’s not true the starved
don’t eat, we die

of broken hips, pelvis
churned to dust—slowly,

the heart consumes
itself. Atrophies and implodes.

(These chambers, remember, 
are a muscle.) 

Nobody nowhere shoulders 
the strength to stop it all, the whole
fat world from slipping
between cracked, wanting lips. We eat 

and we hate,

with each bite and gag-
me spoon. Our weakness 
displayed like limbs
splayed wide, flushed
shameful folds of pink.
How I wish

I could stop. Let the valves
shut down cold. Listen, 
that last organ coda. And you
in dutiful ovation.