Effy Winter is recognized as a contemporary poet whose work secretes an erotic tenderness and vulnerability. The poems in her debut collection, Flowers of the Flesh, are brimming with dark witchcraft and unholy romance—these passionate invocations are an ode to lovers, to God and the Devil himself. In this ritualistic anthology, Winter reveals the corroding chapel within her heart.
“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)
“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
“Effy Winter’s poetry is both erotic and holy. The formatting utilized in her work assists in its shocking impact, reading like scripture . . . Her work brings to mind the likes of Sappho, Pablo Neruda, Aurora Linnea, and Lenore Kandel, but with an even sicker twist. There is the feeling of the Devil sitting and watching as you read, luring you in with his tempestuous debauchery. Her poetry is overwhelming, as it comes like an unexpected storm, and without warning empties into you all of its confessions. I imagine this work crafted in the waiting room of limbo, a small space between Heaven and Hell. It is obvious she has experienced both, and has a way of describing it with such sentimental familiarity of the body form . . . The reoccurring themes in Winter’s work are of God; the Devil, sex, witchcraft, and menstruation. It is a declaration of the divine feminine—work that only a tortured woman could produce.”