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The Vital System, a first collection of poems by SBC alumna Christina Burroughs ’04, will be published in September by Tupelo Press. Christina, who publishes under the name CM Burroughs, has been awarded fellowships and grants from organizations including Yaddo, The MacDowell Colony, the Virginia Center for the Creative Arts, Cave Canem, Callaloo Writers Workshop, and the University of Pittsburgh. She has received commissions from the Studio Museum of Harlem and the Warhol Museum to create poetry in response to art installations.  After graduating from Sweet Briar, Christina eared an MFA  at the University of Pittsburgh, and she now lives in Chicago where she is the Elma Stuckey Poet-in-Residence at Columbia College. Her poem “Artist’s Delight” was published as a broadside in 2008 for Pennsylvania’s Public Poetry Project and appeared in Tuesday; An Art Project. A Pushcart Prize nominee, her poetry has appeared in journals including Ploughshares, Callaloo, jubilat, VOLT, Bat City Review, La Fovea, and Eleven Eleven.

Poet and novelist Laurie Sheck says of The Vital System, “CM Burroughs’s provocative first collection enacts the ways in which the very nature of thought is brokenness and disruption. Saturated in red, full of ellipses, slash marks, lacunae, brackets, and all manner of typographical signaling, this work bristles with a Hopkins-like clashing of syllables and haunting silences. In its challenging engagement with the page as a visual field, The Vital System submerges while never wholly abandoning narrative…. If the word “I” is both an infected and glorious thing, how are we to think of it? — that is one of the questions implicit at the heart of this book so full of vivid cusps and strivings.”

And French critic and essaysist Hélène Cixous writes, “A poem drips through to us … an injection of luminous sentences. CM Burroughs delves into the ultra-sensitive roots of being; where sufferings and desires take shape, she gathers each breath as yet unheard and leads it to speech.”

Links to some of Christina’s poems are available on her web site. Also, she’ll be reading at Sweet Briar at 4:30 p.m. on Monday October 22, in the Anne Gary Pannell Gallery to celebrate the publication of The Vital System. More information about Christina’s visit will be posted later.


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