Flowers of the Flesh (Rhythm & Bones Press, 2019)

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“The poems in Flowers of the Flesh read like dark scripture—sacred and sensual, dripping with a strange, spiritual eloquence. Winter’s poems invoke spells or prayers written in blood and cum by a gothic heroine. Winter is an essential voice in contemporary poetry.”

— Erin Vance, author of The Sorceress Who Left Too Soon (Coven Editions, 2019)

Flowers of the Flesh is a smoldering, anguished votive to the most primal ecstasies and torments, a cathartic effigy of sheer intensity, an alluring, catastrophic wildfire uncommon in contemporary poetry . . . The fragility and wounding evoked throughout this novel makes ample use of floral imagery to symbolize vulnerability and the paradoxical violence and beauty of sex. For readers of Winter, the act of sex itself becomes a religious sacrament signaling confession and forgiveness.”

— Paul Rowe, editor at Pen & Anvil Press

“Effy Winter’s Flowers of the Flesh is a bloodletting through a moment of years—a red rose blooming in the hollow of a woman made of glass, whose mouth is a cathedral, whose purge of love rivals the burning of witches. Winter’s work lives in haunting stillness on the thin line where torment and pain meet pleasure and ecstatic revelation, where angels lay with devils, “All black hair and pale flesh / to be ravaged.” With images evoked from the radiant dark of the Romantics or the black mirror of Gilbert-Lecomte, Flowers of the Flesh reads as a waking from one dream into another, each poem bleeding into the next with the soft holiness of a ritual fuck. This is a testament, and to read this book is both sacrament and sacrilege. Winter presents us with an offering on her altar of sorrow and erotic revelry that will leave you on your knees, gasping and begging for more. Don’t forget to breathe.”

— Angelo Colavita, author of Flowersonnets (Empty Set Press, 2018)

“Effy Winter’s Flowers of the Flesh is an anatomy chart of visceral, yet beautiful micro poetry. Effy brilliantly conjures the atlas of the body and shows readers what a body looks like when it tries to be both a garden and a graveyard.”

— J.B. Stone, author of A Place Between Expired Dreams and Renewed Nightmares (Ghost City Press, 2018)

“There are few things in life with the ability to genuinely fascinate, and fewer individuals in possession of the power to drive that allure. However, Effy Winter has discovered the formula for suspending language with pure magic and impressive literary prowess. Flowers of the Flesh speaks eloquently and in a devastatingly raw tone about the subjects of violence, trauma, sex, desire and eroticism, in a way that is atypical to contemporary poetry by women, and in turn utterly ecstatic. Winter doesn’t shy away from or hide the crude realities of life in her work, nor is there a sense of operating thinly veiled. Immediate and absorptive, the work in Flowers of the Flesh is a dynamic meditation and an almost obsessive fixation on the body, the mind and the spirit exposed to the elements of the human condition designed to embezzle our light and dim our purpose. Winter provides us with a platform for our pain—a place to soak in suffering as a ram to quicksand. There is no mistaking the sorrows that plague human existence, but if you’re looking to be challenged and strong enough to submerge yourself in the blood of this collection, you are surely promised a spiritual and physical transcendence—what an absolute gift we’ve been given in the form of poetry.”

— Afieya Kipp, author of Investments in Weak Vessels (Whiskey Tit Books, 2019)

“A visceral, evocative collection of lucid poetry depicting love that has been lost but found again among the fallen petals that caress these pages, this novel has blossomed from a lover’s pain and retribution to spawn something pure and beautiful.”

— Tianna Hansen, founder of Rhythm & Bones Press

Flowers of the Flesh is a visceral, raw, and relentless exploration of sexual and emotional violence. Repeatedly invoking images of blood, soreness and penetration, the body becomes the site of an unholy ritual in these darkly fascinating poems. Throughout the book the author develops a paradoxical relationship with the body. Despite continued, often shockingly vivid descriptions of violence, the poet always returns to floral images—roses blooming. Effy Winter’s remarkable ability to balance the sacred and the unholy, the physical and the spiritual, the beautiful and the bloody, is clear in this deeply intimate, personal collection.”

— Katherine DeCoste, student at University of Alberta