Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch
Bringing together poetry, essay, and letters to "lovers, friends and in-betweens," Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch confronts the ways capitalism, fatphobia, ableism, transness, and racializations affect people with chronic pain, illness, and disability. knot body explores what it means to discover the limits of your body, and contends with what those limitations bring up in the world we live in.
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"For me, the power of knot body stems from its courage and unique voice in writing the ache, the ache of chronic pain, the ache of faulty diagnoses and bodily misreadings, and, equally, the ache for honest answers on how to love each other in all our dignity. Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch is an artist and philosopher of talent, generosity, and heart."
- David Chariandy, author of Brother (Penguin Random House)
“In this moment, when trans, racialized and disabled bodies are met with violent and polarizing commentary within the public sphere, Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch offers us the uninterrupted intimacy of knot body. As self-communional as Kiese Laymon’s Heavy and Terese Marie Mailhot’s Heart Berries, they amplify and queer the epistolary memoir genre. Each letter is emotionally and thematically complete and, too, each letter decidedly speaks to the next. Readers may ruminate on the sharp and sensual inquiry offered by each individual letter, or read cover-to-cover and be present to the gorgeously-engaged, call-and-response quality of knot body as a whole.”
"knot body is such a generous tapestry of tenderness—a collection that brilliantly utilizes the direct address in a way that is not universal, but still beautifully communal. I reached the end of this collection and breathed in a newer, better world."
Eli Tareq El Bechelany-Lynch is a queer Arab poet living in Tio’tia:ke, unceded Kanien’kehá:ka territory (Montreal). Their work has appeared in The Best Canadian Poetry 2018 anthology, GUTS, carte blanche, the Shade Journal, The New Quarterly, Arc Poetry Magazine, Room Magazine, and elsewhere. They participated in the Banff Centre’s ‘Centering Ourselves’ BIPOC residency, and they were longlisted for the CBC poetry prize in 2019. You can find them on Twitter and Instagram @theonlyelitareq.
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly | Staff Picks 2020 | Rachel
"In a series of poems, letters, and an essay, knot body takes us through the extremes and normalcy of living with chronic pain, and, importantly, the intersections of gendered illness with queer life. The poetics here are precise, yet call readers continually into reflection and responsibility."
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly | Staff Picks 2020 | Alyssa
"(A) collection full of poems that bring such lyricism to chronic pain, and letters perfect in their unstudied intimacy."
Librairie Drawn & Quarterly | Staff Picks 2020 | Saelen
"knot body is a collection of poems, essays, and letters that confronts how embodiment is conditioned by capitalism, fatphobia, transness, ableism, and racialization. It's tender, creaturely, and companionable."
CBC Books | Fall Books Preview | Canadian poetry collections to watch for in fall 2020
"knot body is a poetry collection by queer mixed race Arab poet Eli Tareq Bechelany-Lynch that confronts racism, capitalism, ableism, transphobia and fatphobia. It's about the limits we have in and on our bodies and how those limits define how we connect with the world — and how we can break these limits down to remake a more inclusive world."