Book of the Given
The paradox of sex: what starts as corporeal turns to the in-corporeality of the interior. What begins as reach toward the other brings us back to ourselves, “eyes closed, seeing night herons.” In this rigorously crafted book, Rusty Morrison observes the fraught and alluring givens of eroticism, the authority of the script we think we are following and the demands of generosity where “expectation must be abandoned.” The script, in this case, is by George Bataille. His passages, fractured and dispersed, are assembled into a text that speaks to us as a lover, not a philosopher, might, that intimately and that audaciously, with all the punning, sparring, avowals and reversals we expect from erotic charge.
The openness of this sequence is heartfelt and heartbreaking…. Morrison courts those regions of thinking and being that society instructs us to suppress or ignore; and she does so by declaring, “Every object I am/is the rupturing it is built on.” At the same time, she writes, “Pretend instead that words can make a humanness between us.” What started and moved this reader is the calm forceful music, its tonal shifts and use of different registers, with which Morrison proceeded, her willingness to “plunge into the silence that most frightens us.”
Rusty Morrison’s quiet, strikingly honest third collection, Book of the Given, navigates grief, love, and fear of estrangement from one’s partner after the death of a loved one.