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I received a copy of Chloe N. Clark’s Your Strange For­tune for review pur­pos­es. As always, this review reflects only my hon­est thoughts on the book.

 width=Your Strange Fortune
by Chloe N. Clark

Pub­li­ca­tion Date: July 2019
Pub­lish­er: Veg­e­tar­i­an Alco­holic Press

56 pages

Genre: Poet­ry



Chloe N. Clark’s Your Strange For­tune is our good for­tune. This debut vol­ume of rare sym­pa­thy and imag­i­na­tion leaps eas­i­ly from myths to mon­sters, ghosts to zom­bies, fairy tales to the Apoc­a­lypse that, for this poet and so many today, is “just/the fact of life.” Clark’s inven­tive, unfor­get­table voice ranges wide­ly— from up-to-the-moment poems like “Googol­plex,” in which curios­i­ty becomes dark com­pul­sion, to the far future when muse­ums fea­ture the relics of our own time: “the things we could not bear/to leave behind us:/ pieces of high­ways, signs/ …one sin­gle spike from Lady/ Liberty’s crown.” Clark under­stands that time speeds for­ward and that myth and pop­u­lar cul­ture are close kin that offer the songs of ghosts who once were us, “the ones who/ had such beau­ti­ful voic­es but only when/ they thought no one was lis­ten­ing.” Like the poet’s “clock­work nightin­gale” whose song is both dystopi­an and beau­ti­ful, Chloe Clark’s voice ris­es above the usu­al din to bring us a debut vol­ume that is rich with unset­tling ques­tions but always unflinch­ing­ly alive.

–Ned Bal­bo, author of The Cyl­burn Touch-Me-Nots and 3 Nights of the Perseids

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My Review

I’ve always been a big fan of goth­icism in lit­er­a­ture, and espe­cial­ly poet­ry, so Chloe N. Clark’s Your Strange For­tune was right up my alley from the start.  From ghosts to fairy­tales to witch­es, the book starts off spooky and main­tains it in the most beau­ti­ful way through­out each and every indi­vid­ual poem. In fact, things get out­right witchy (anoth­er favourite aes­thet­ic!).  Your Strange For­tune fea­tures palm­istry, bones, blood, heartbeats…all the mak­ings of a fan­tas­tic spell.

I think my favourite part of this book, though, is the incred­i­ble use of sen­so­ry details. You can tru­ly “feel” the poems as you read.  It’s almost uncan­ny to expe­ri­ence them–it goes beyond reading:

“…we eat only the dead, / we can taste their dreaming…”

Have I eat­en the dead? No. Have I tast­ed dream­ing? I don’t think so.  Yet Clark makes you feel as if you have.

That quote comes from “Rat-Infest­ed Ghost Ship Off the Coast of Britain.” A few oth­er favourites: “You Told Me to Check the Facts and Read the Num­bers,” “The Oth­er Side of This is Still Here,” “Gen­er­a­tions,” and “This Song is the Same Song, You are the Dif­fer­ent One.” But, if I’m being com­plete­ly hon­est?  I could eas­i­ly argue that most of these poems were each my favourite!

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About the Author

Chloe N. Clark holds an MFA in Cre­ative Writ­ing & Envi­ron­ment. She teach­es mul­ti­modal com­po­si­tion, com­mu­ni­ca­tion, and cre­ative writ­ing. Her poet­ry and fic­tion has appeared such places as Apex, Bom­bay Gin, Drunk­en Boat, Gamut, Hobart, Uncan­ny, and more. She writes columns for Nerds of a Feath­er, and can be found on Twit­ter @PintsNCupcakes. Her chap­book The Sci­ence of Unvan­ish­ing Objects was pub­lished by Fin­ish­ing Line Press and her debut full length poet­ry col­lec­tion is forth­com­ing from Veg­e­tar­i­an Alco­holic Press. She is also found­ing co-edi­tor-in-chief of Cot­ton Xenomorph.

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