Tightly woven together, Peters’ poems juxtapose one another like provocative paintings in a museum exhibit and build upon one another, using motifs of light and water, skin and pores, palms and hands, prayers and spirituals…To say that this first collection of an emerging poet is spectacular is not overstatement.
Un-becoming is a collection that we need. Both skin and strength are at the very core of Charnell Peters’ gorgeous debut, which presents a body that becomes and “un-becomes” throughout various stages of girlhood, womanhood, and over the course of human history…The speaker sees her own skin in every facet, every corner, or in Peters’ own words, “what are we but edges, / made and unmade / by the waters of our mouths?”
Daniel Bowman Jr.
Charnell Peters is a poet who can “firesing the stones/in [our] stomachs to dust.” This debut(!) comprises bodies, hands “tendon-rippling,” and finally whole histories—elegiac, funny, tender, powerful—realized in a singular new voice from Middle America I didn’t know how much I needed.