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The poems of Orchids spring from the margins of contemporary masculinity. A rich undercurrent of melancholy and desire seethes beneath the cool rhetorical playfulness of these lyrical monologues, as anguished speakers face the unfeasibility of confession.

The ghosts of a shared cultural imagination also haunt these "stifling" and skewed domestic spaces: Caravaggio's castrated head of Goliath confronts existential crisis in an airport hotel shower. Dead gay film icons explain themselves by invoking Superman comics and Dostoevsky. A love poem beginning with familiar sentiments takes refuge among phantom victims of the Reign of Terror.

Beyond such fantastic flights and metamorphoses, Orchids remains most troubled by the everydayness of its melodramas, so that the physical act of washing up inspires a set of meditations on the self and body, a creeping weed and the man from the phone company each pose some unspeakable threat, and an innocent bit of teenage cross-dressing gives way to an irreconcilable sense of loss.
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Product details

  • Pamphlet | 48 pages
  • 129 x 198 x 3mm | 54.43g
  • Cambridge, United Kingdom
  • English
  • No
  • 1844718026
  • 9781844718023
  • 2,485,885

Table of contents


The Mirror Stage

Dun Laoghaire Postcard

Meditation on Washing Up

A Rejection of Marriage

La Grande Guerre Facades (1964)

The Man from the Phone Company


A Late Cary Grant as Sherlock Holmes

Screen Tests

The Artist as the Head of Goliath (c. 1610)

Rievaulx Abbey

The Virgin in Prayer

The Pelagian Heresy



Resurrection Man

He Do Star Wars In Different Voices


The Vine



Heimath (Home)

Camille sur son lit de mort (1879)
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About J.T. Welsch

JT Welsch grew up in Waterloo, Illinois, a small farm town across the Mississippi River from St. Louis. After studying music in Boston, he immigrated further east to study screenwriting and poetry at Royal Holloway in London. Earlier this year, he completed a PhD in Manchester, where he currently lives, writes, and teaches at various universities. Orchids is his first book of poetry.
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