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Eyewear Publishing

The Moral Judgement of Butterflies

The Moral Judgement of Butterflies

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By K. Eltinaé


Finalist for the Luschei Award for African Poetry

Butterflies, in the award-winning debut by K.Eltinaé, allude to those born into cultures and societies that hunt and trap all which is different and beautiful, only to watch it die on their own terms. Hope emanates from Eltinaé's layered struggles as a citizen of somewhere/everywhere/ nowhere as the immigrants in these poems cross oceans of guilt and untranslatable loss, struggle daily with the weight of harboring languages, and memories that hold them hostage between worlds.


"This book’s belief that “kindness exists despite / being quarantined on planes before arriving to your lands” its belief in the possibility of healing “the cache of cities / built beneath our tongues” — is necessary. “I crawl into boxes // before I show you wings.” Wings, indeed. This is a book of wings that we need and must give airspace to. Because they are inimitable and beautiful." Ilya Kaminsky author of Deaf Republic

"This salient collection crafts a set of interconnected diasporic weavings that thread the fragments of longing and belonging. Eltinaé probes loss, not simply as a thing once had, but as a part of the human condition and the migratory reality of post-colonial Africans everywhere and as a way for us to reimagine our own place in a relational revelation. This is a striking and necessary debut that reminds us we can make our world anew."Matthew Shenoda author of Tahrir Suite

"This is the work of an artist who has touched fire and emerged with survival scripts worthy of libation. This is poetry as a life-saving instrument. This is poetry that matters."Diriye Osman author of Fairytales for Lost Children

"The moral judgement of butterflies wends through cove and cave, tree shade and moonshine, aiming for the freedom of being at ease within the self, the total sovereignty found when one stops resisting “the vertigo of living.” This is a startling collection of slow disappearances."Ladan Osman author of The Kitchen Dweller’s Testimony and Exiles of Eden

"Between worlds feels like a no-man’s-land, but sometimes it’s the place where a poet is born."Philip Metres author of Shrapnel Maps

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