Bates, Gabrielle: Judas Goat
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Tin House Books, paperback
Publication Date: January 24, 2023Publisher Marketing: Gabrielle Bates’s electric debut collection Judas Goat plumbs the depths of intimate relationships. The book’s eponymous animal is used to lead sheep to slaughter, while its own life is spared, and its harrowing existence echoes through this spellbinding collection of thirty-nine poems, which wrestle with betrayal and forced obedience, violence and young womanhood, and the “forbidden felt language” of sexual and sacred love. These poems conjure encounters with figures from scriptures, domesticated animals eyeing the wild, and mothering as a shapeshifting, spectral force; they question what it means to love another person and how to exorcize childhood fears. All the while, the Deep South haunts, and no matter how far away the speaker moves, the South always draws her back home.
In confession, in illumination, Bates establishes herself as an unflinching witness to the risks that desire necessitates, as Judas Goat holds readers close and whispers its unforgettable lines.
Gabrielle Bates is a writer, visual artist, and co-host of The Poet Salon podcast. Her poetry has appeared in The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, American Poetry Review, and other publications. Originally from Birmingham, Alabama, Gabrielle lives in Seattle, Washington. Judas Goat, her debut collection, was named an NPR best book of 2023.