Bleed and See is an elegy for Chris Laoutaris’ brother, George Laoutaris, whose premature death is grasped so close in the poet’s hands, it passes with the beauty of the last of the summer roses. Chris Laoutaris quotes from an army of rich sources, from Desiderius Erasmus to Denise Levertov, with the inner strength to match them: “wisdom acquired through suffering is a kind of gift”. Bleed and See is an otherworldly, moon-drenched collection which, like the best elegies, leaves us changed.
PRAISE for Bleed and See:
This is a courageous, moving and deeply moral collection, as endlessly curious and outward looking as it is intellectually generous and compassionate. In Laoutaris we have a poet who invites us to think deeply, radically, and rewards us with imagistic genius and indelible phrasing. And unflinching and clear-sighted. Any serious poet is probably haunted by Adorno’s charge, a sense of its impossibility, or to stand outside the hall of mirrors we’re duty-bound to critique; it moves me to read work which achieves that. Bleed and See is a character study (for all of us as well as its subject, the poet’s brother George), an elegy, a profound literary and ontological history. A vital debut.
— Luke Kennard, Winner of the Forward Prize for Poetry for Notes on the Sonnets
In Bleed and See Laoutaris shows how difference becomes the pretext for the dehumanizing of the other, of how we relish standing taller than, cutting off at the knees, those we “see” as different and those we are blindly taught to fear. Every poem speaks not just to one brother’s experiences, to the inhumanity suffered by the individual, but to the larger worldwide inhumanity we perpetuate against our common humanity. The ‘brother’ of these poetic psalms is as much our brother in love and pain as he is the poet’s. Laoutaris is an incredible writer, the bearer of deep-evoking truths which stir change wherever the winds of his words touch wounds.
— Neal Hall, MD, Winner of the Black Caucus of the American Library Association Best Poetry Book Award
‘The odds of flesh and fang which meet in the fabric.’ Chris Laoutaris’ poems manage to turn visceral suffering into something sacred: a set of finely wrought objects we turn over and over as we encounter the difficult fact of living with disability. His poems offer complex forms of material anthropology — a mesmerising dance macabre. Laoutaris reminds us that art can be wrought from the ugliness of pain, and that poetic metaphor, when it is so carefully curated, can produce sudden and startling releases of feeling. Exquisite relief.
Bleed and See is reminiscent of the poetry of Jacobean revenge drama - Webster’s The Duchess of Malfi and The White Devil - run through the idioms of twentieth century lyrical poets Sylvia Plath and Robert Lowell. His poems explode in front of us but their effect is often a deadly quiet: the quiet sound of love feeling its way through depths of pain.
— Sally Bayley, author of Girl With Dove and No Boys Play Here
Broken Sleep Books