‘The Color She Gave Gravity’ traces longing for connection between women. An ecopoetics of the bodymind, these poems take us inside a dance inside an imaginary city inside sculpted spaces inside the insomniac body inside sister grief inside she. The work emerges from a landscape of somatic engagement and from experiences of psychiatric systems and multiple hospitalizations.
Check out an excerpt and a conversation with The Operating System’s editor, Lynne DeSilva-Johnson, about almost posthumous publication, queer/mad poetics, and the weave of movement and words.
Reviewed in Entropy by Andrew F Giles: “Fragile mail”
Advance Praise for The Color She Gave Gravity
“[I]n the slow gestures/of a person adjusting/to too much light” and with the faith of a chemist, Stephanie Heit sets fire inside her own dark and offers “light someone not yet arrived/will understand.” The Color She Gave Gravity is a breathtaking (which is to say, life-giving) book that both stills and energizes by breaking and reforming the unseen bonds of DNA, language, geography, and history.” – TC Tolbert
“Stephanie Heit’s ‘The Color She Gave Gravity’ is a sonorous force field calling on tenderness, care, vigilance and abandon. An all-encompassing clarity saturates mind, spirit, movement and emotion. To locate the blind spot and unburden experience of the horizon’s relentless pressure—this is what the text does tenfold, imparting and dispelling the inexplicable along peripheries and in intimately centered frames of movement: gorgeously evocative and intensely realized capacious psychic flows.” – Brenda Iijima
“Stephanie Heit has choreographed, in her first full-length poetry collection, a deeply engaging articulation of the interplay between mental illness and the creative instinct, history and destiny, and limitation and willful boundary. Here, we have an author brave enough to say “I suffer” and talented enough to excavate the lyrical beauty of that suffering. The Color She Gave Gravity offers the reader a textured view of a graceful body torn between trying to remember and trying to forget.” – Airea D. Matthews
“In these fierce, moving poems, we witness a self as it seeks its right path through those landscapes we call world. We are taken along, wandering through urban streets or across beaches that once were lakes, sometimes dreamily, sometimes searingly awake, digging through stories and years. These poems enact one of our most potent human gifts: our ability to find ourselves — tumbling, falling down, standing up — in proprioceptive relation to everything in our earthly realm.” – Eleni Sikelianos
Cover Photo: “Crossing Visible,” by Gwynneth VanLaven