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The Book of the Unreal Woman by Kelly Davio

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In The Book of the Unreal Woman Kelly Davio presents a series of funny, sharply observed poems about what it means to be embodied. Davio writes about body image and disability, teasing out the layers and nuances of a delicate subject matter. The Book of the Unreal Woman is a bright, brave and accomplished collection of poems, offering her lived experience and empathy to encourage acceptance.


PRAISE for The Book of the Unreal Woman:

I love this book. Never before has a collection of poems explored the ways nondisabled women and disabled women appraise each other. Davio’s range is exquisite. She writes into the poetic tradition — ballad, litany, pantoum — while making room in poetry for disabled femmes, funny as hell, and powerful.

— Jillian Weise, Cyborg Detective


Davio’s Unreal Woman is a meditation on sickness and shortcoming and sorrow, and yet is not so simply summed. The Unreal Woman rises and falls — metaphorically and literally — at the hands of a world refusing to see her. Isolated by blame, cures for weakness are hurled from behind department store displays, walls of yoga mats, and the safety of social media medical degrees. The Unreal Woman takes the question “Why can’t you just...?” and turns it inside out.
— Camille Griep, New Charity Blues


The Unreal Woman is like “The palm at the end of the mind”— that Stevensian trick for we both see her and do not. These are poems of spirit and embodiment; of appearance and disappearance. This collection brings forward the shy, unasked for recognitions and ironies of our tragicomic predicament.
— Stephen Kuusisto, Planet of the Blind

Broken Sleep Books



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