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Breach by Lisa Samuels

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Breach by Lisa Samuels performs a vital palilalia of lockdown. Starting with the dead, with Li Wenliang, who was the first to raise the Covid alarm, the book pitches and surges in deflections, hungers, and political feeling through pandemic-as-ordinary-life. The forced changes in relations we've all suffered derange the lines, chopped like


threats of


hands on techno

maps and wild-type

host societies


there’s a mask

between you and

every tangi-

ble growth


Breach is a song of lockdown: its tragedies, absurdities, non sequitur linguistic hilarities, and nightmarish lexical distortions, presented at a perfect moment for reflection, as we each continue adjust our bodies, lives and breaths...


'The first work of poetry I have read that has helped me think-feel COVID; the way it is changing the relationship between inside and out, and the personal-political metaphysics of materialism, as body, as power, and as language. A vaccine against the solitude of screen heritage, confinement, and fear,  Lisa Samuels’s Breach is also a meditation on the material of contagion. In terrifyingly precise helicoid strands of words hinging and unhinging from the order of grammar, Samuels unravels in poetic nucleotides the warp and weft of our different transnational pathogens knotting into monuments at the breach of biopolitcal capitalism, from the everyday of breath as windows, to the felt rend(er)ing of our data flows, our “crypt toes”.'

 Lily Robert-Foley


'Written in the middle of the pandemic that broke so many of us open, Lisa Samuels’s Breach pieces together the body that the Spinoza epigraph suggests “constitutes the formal being of the human mind.” Lines and words cohabit, fragment, and trail down the page, making new meanings and associations as this book considers relations among mind, body, and human, terms whose foundations have been unsettled by the pandemic, authoritarian brutality, and intense isolation of 2020-2021. In this polymorphous text pleasure and pain coexist, “ear to ear / composite / lustening,” and each touch is haunted by the breach it must cross to meet another. If we listen with more than our ears perhaps we can peer “underneath / your skein face / doctor, nurse” and develop “ideas of what’s / sheer.” Sheered open, we might make ourselves a little more transparent, a little less masked.'

– Amaranth Borsuk



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