Stupor, by David Ray Vance
Winner of the 2012 Elixir Press Antivenom Poetry Award.
"David Ray Vance's STUPOR is unwaveringly contemporary. In this linguistically intriguing and imaginative engagement with Western life, Vance explores adaptation and desensitization, venturing to differentiate between what truly heals and what merely numbs. Provocative and summative, the title suggests both the depression and torpor characteristic of many folks' lives as society's passive drones. It also documents and evokes a defensive stance—the body knows best—triggered by the onslaught of stimuli: media and representation, violence, extremity, and decadence; the dizzying parade of prescriptions and their side effects; and the 'reality' of a technologically advanced world—a world in which everything is hyper and frighteningly infused with trauma. STUPOR, with its often-shocking images, asks a most difficult and unsettling question: what humanity will emerge from our bald contemporaneity, searching amidst the consequences of its cures. And it demands that we meet its questioning with our own, diligent and discerning, reaching beyond slumber toward an awareness as bloody and chaotic as all we desire to leave behind."—Duriel E. Harris, contest judge