Ugly Duckling Presse

Dear Body:
Dear Body:

Dan Machlin

Poetry | $15 $13
"Dear Body: is a fine first book from a unique voice in poetry." — Richard Scheiwe

In the title sequence of this stunning debut, poet Dan Machlin imagines the dialog between body and mind as a playful literary correspondence. One that begins whimsically: “We prayed to your effigy like to a beautiful library book you wanted to steal,” but can turn violent ("Cut off a finger to see if you would notice, but the blood said nothing and I / just stood there moments with an open mouth”). Still, these poems never abandon their innate optimism, humor, and eloquent lightness as they explore diverse forms and vocabularies on their search for “an opening, an architecture.”

About the Author

Dan Machlin
Dan Machlin was born and raised in New York City. He is the author of Dear Body: (UDP) and several chapbooks: 6x7 (UDP), This Side Facing You (Heart Hammer Press), and In Rem (@ Press), as well as Above Islands (Immanent Audio), an audio CD collaboration with singer/cellist Serena Jost. His poems and reviews have appeared in The Poetry Project Newsletter, Talisman, Antennae, Crayon, Soft Targets, Boog Literature, and The Brooklyn Rail. Dan is the founding editor and publisher of Futurepoem books, a former contributing editor of The Transcendental Friend, and a former curator of The Segue Series at Bowery Poetry Club in NYC.

Advance Praise

In this contemplative and lyrical collection, Dan Machlin suggests that one solution to the classic mind/body problem is to first acknowledge the body as truly other. Rather than romanticizing or dissecting, getting cozy or visceral, he reawakens us to the mystery of embodiment through a coolly distanced reinvention of the epistolary form. The tone of these letters is elegant and almost elegiac, austere yet oddly moving. In 'a country/where sentimentality/has all but faded,' the body continues to haunt and fascinate us.—ELAINE EQUI
The salutation 'Dear,' Dear Someone, already anachronistic, along with the stamp and the signature. No one is now present to epistelatory intimacy. And yet, here is a book of poems: Dear Body:. As if the mind and its linguistic dream were unable to sever itself from an address, unable to become an anonymous slate. Dan Machlin upholds the singular clarities of speaking from one body to another. A body of knowledge, for example. A body of endurance. Brilliant, fierce, and spare, these poems bring us, line by line, into a new apprehension of what we are all too ready to rescind. 'Is it sufficient that the body at times/ can be thought to overwrite the purity of consciousness?' The answer is both personal and resonant: 'because I’m scared/about nothing being done.' —ANN LAUTERBACH
These poems are full of searing ebulliences and secret concavities in which a reader might find herself unclothed of her notions. The body finds its lover in itself, we touch the blue glass twice in the same place — these interior motions by which we learn 'constancy and boredom' — and the poem unfolds an intimacy so private I feel denuded. It is the most refreshing stripping, like a mist of cool water in a thirsty hour. If ever there were a humane genome embedded in language’s possibilities, Machlin has found it and is tapping out the words on those beads.—ELENI SIKELIANOS