Brilliant Odyssey Don’t Yearn is a poem in three parts. From the Book of Anatomy to the Book of Body Celestial to the Book of Apocalypse, the book is a visceral body that takes the reader into a shining vortex of transmutation, wonder, longing, home-building, and euphoria.
Finn Menzies debut collection “brilliant odyssey don’t yearn” is the unspooling of a body noticing its multiplicity, a book like a scarf a magician might pull from their sleeve, astonishing at each new length drawn. Investigating the tangle of guilt and affirmation within the press of identity, Menzies’ poem glide over and beneath the skin. A uncompromising offering, this book is a directive, an invitation committed to tenderly dismantling a social structure organ by organ, a gentleness felt even as Menzies undoubtedly pierces the status quo. Simultaneously crushing and consoling, “brilliant odyssey don’t yearn” is a quiet and unfettered gift, poetry arising from need: humane, graceful, redemptive.
-Sophie Klahr, author of Meet Me Here At Dawn
“Finn Menzies begins the final poem of the Brilliant Odyssey Don’t Yearn by announcing, “there is no passive way to end the world of me,” and we trust him because we see him try. Throughout the book, Menzies charts the process of transformation (physical, psychological, spiritual) with a vulnerability that is dexterous and rare. He writes, “every night, I get on my knees and pray our human / bodies will become words.” Sometimes, our prayers get answered. Sometimes, a poet gets it all exactly right.”
-Kaveh Akbar, author of Calling a Wolf a Wolf
This debut volume by Finn Menzies gifts us with a poet of exquisite phrasing. The poems in Brilliant Odyssey Don’t Yearn build and build (check out the accruing acronym), and are imagistically accretive in a pattern at once astute, intimate, and vulnerable––“when I get anxious I only feed my heart snow” and “my spirit is real and my body is illusory”–– Candid, surprising, fearless, in this vibrant, brave book, body goes fishing for gender. So porous is the day, so open is the heart, that in our terrifying moment on our sad planet each poem arrives as if surprised to see itself, and just in time. These poems are free. The journey is ours. I felt changed reading them. Thank you for this odyssey, Finn Menzies, and for the sturdy boat.
-Gillian Conoley, translator and author of Peace
Finnegan Rose Menzies' debut collection, BRILLIANT ODYSSEY DON'T YEARN is a glorious work of insistent and miraculous corporeality. This book, corpus of jawbone and femur, feels as solid as an artifact, stone or tooth, and yet demonstrates the transformative power of the imagination, to break through barriers and expand our understanding of what it means to be human and what it means to be a body. "Words are dependable old ships" says the poet, and yet again and again language is revealed to be permeable and transcendent. "These orifices like stubborn kings" and "I keep learning about my heart/heavy apple/a monastery of working hands" My God, how this poet takes the archetypes of heart and flesh and blows into the clay such a powerful breath of incarnate life, revealing for the reader the way in which imagination can widen our compassion for one another and birth an embodied peace in this miraculously material world.
-Heather Derr Smith, author of Thrust