Sheila Squillante – Mostly Human – 2020

Cover for Mostly Human by Sheila SquillanteMostly Human by Sheila Squillante

Sheila Squillante’s Mostly Human is at once lovely and harrowing. These poems follow Round Baby through childhood and adolescence as she discovers desire and death and the limits of her physical and emotional being amidst television shows and pop music and global disaster. Round Baby is “B-movie-ready to bash comet / zombies in the brain with heavy wrenches.” She has a bag filled with “Matchbox cars / Shaun Cassidy / Skylab, Funyuns.” She is a girl who “becomes / an origami project, small folds / into smaller folds.” Meanwhile, the aliens threaten us all with destruction. This book is scary beautiful.

—W. Todd Kaneko, author of The Dead Wrestler Elegies and This is How the Bone Sings

Mostly Human offers up the cosmic, kinetic, unruly, embodied coming of age of Round Baby, who “pronounces / and proclaims. Undeterred / by syntax,” whose allegory of individuation into “sexy singularity” is her parents “like astronauts tethered to the ship of you” and then sent “scattering, / tumbling into cosmos, cut from the very world,” who eats and becomes lush and plush, wearing a wishbone hanging on a cord around her neck, whose first blood comes “sluiced and throbbing/in the hot crotch” of a tree. These poems are crafted as a spacecraft and brave enough to “hip-check the charming abyss.”

—Diane Seuss, author of Four-Legged Girl and Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl

I got chills at Sheila Squillante’s first collection, Beautiful Nerve, and thrills watching Round Baby – plump infant, tumescent teen – emerge in various journals before finally coalescing here in Mostly Human. Round Baby is the Gen X offspring of the Eraserhead baby and Love’s Baby Soft, herald of the darkly absurd late 20th century.

—Heidi Czerwiec, author of Conjoining and Fluid States

Release Date: October 2020
Paperback