Swallowing the Stem of Adam’s Apple by Laura Kiesel
Laura Kiesel plumbs the depths of familial dysfunction, and the wretched inheritance of addiction, thoroughly and with impressive nuance in Swallowing the Stem of Adam’s Apple, combining integrity and personal grit that’s interwoven throughout her lyrical style. She writes beautifully about her fractured relationship with her mother, and the ripple effect it has had throughout the rest of her life. Her work is an unflinching examination of the erotic implications of romantic relationships and filled with visually exhilarating metaphors and analogies.
Raised a Roman Catholic, Kiesel describes religious rituals and makes use of Christian symbols, while referencing Biblical figures and stories, in ways that are simultaneously subversive and familiar. Illness and death are common themes in her work, whom Kiesel often personifies and treats as old friends--more accurately, rivals or frenemies--competing for her time and attention and that of her loved ones. Instead of keeping them at arm’s length, Kiesel embraces them and the macabre reminders her daily life offers her of her own and others’ shared mortality and finiteness. Swallowing the Stem of Adam’s Apple does not demur in its assessment of the self and society but instead navigates the trials and tribulations of the human condition with visceral astuteness.
Publication Date: January 12, 2021