An essay in poems, The Donkey Elegies closely examines an animal's history, tracing how one species hauled the stones that built our civilizations, plowed the fields that fed generations, and carted soldiers and weapons from war to war. The poems undo the brunt end of every lewd joke and unearth the sacred origins of a creature we rarely consider except as melancholy cartoon or dumb, stubborn brute. In these twenty-five linked pieces, a truth is made real: that we must cherish each living thing, each animal, each human being for all their worth.
"In The Donkey Elegies, Nickole Brown sets out to cleanse our wounded sight, nourish our withered assumptions, and crack open the narrow cage of our souls. By restoring dignity to our misunderstood kin, she asks us to explore along with her the origins of humans' selfserving stories and reflect on the ways clich's of language and thought perpetuate violence and diminishment. True seeing, addressing occlusions of one's own moral sight, requires a concerted vulnerability on the part of the writer, and here, Brown's gorgeous language is infused with radical tenderness, authentic surprise, and restless curiosity. As acts of rescue, reclamation, and repair, her poems serve as extended heart-songs to all of us, and especially to the least of us."
-- Lia Purpura, author of All the Fierce Tethers and Rough Likeness
"We no longer live lives close to those necessary others who are here with us, the animals, and so there is in us a great lack--of wisdom, of empathy, of attention. For this, Nickole Brown's book-length poem The Donkey Elegies might well be first remedy. With great wisdom and empathy, and with exquisite attention to history, culture, language, gender, memory, and the beautiful, weary world about us, Brown allows us to truly see and for a blessed
moment be with that most humble of beasts, and in so doing she challenges us to turn to the holinesses in our own worlds, to hold them close--closer yet."
-- Joe Wilkins, author of Fall Back Down When I Die and When We Were Birds