About the Author:
Dena Igusti (she/they) is a queer Indonesian Muslim poet, playwright, and producer based in Queens, New York. She is the author of CUT WOMAN (Game Over Books 2020). She is the co-founder of Asian multi-disciplinary arts collective UNCOMMON; YOU and literary press Short Line Review. She is a 2018 NYC Youth Poet Laureate Ambassador and 2017 Urban Word Federal Hall Fellow. She is a 2019 Player’s Theatre Resident Playwright for her co-written Off-Broadway production SHARUM. She is a 2020 Ars Nova Emerging Leaders Fellow and part of Spotify Sound Up’s 2020 cohort. Her work has been featured in BOAAT Press, Peregrine Journal, and several other publications. She has performed at The Brooklyn Museum, The Apollo Theater, the 2018 Teen Vogue Summit, and several universities across the nation.
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Join Dena Igusti as she discusses her new book
In a world shaped by what is and what will be lost, what is there to celebrate? Dena Igusti’s debut collection CUT WOMAN discusses how Igusti navigates grief and anticipated loss as a queer Muslim Indonesian survivor of female genital mutilation.
“Speechless. Euphoric. Cathartic. Cut Woman is a vibrant prayer for our living and a loving salve for our ghosts. With a deft, devoted hand, Dena Igusti weaves alienation, grief, desire, and defiance into an indelible tapestry of survival and celebration. They show us that mortality is not a deadline but a continuum. We will die, but we will also cry, and shout, and love, and dance, and live on. Sunset is just the beginning, and Igusti will guide us into the next morning.” — Teta Alim, D.C.-based journalist and founder of Buah Zine
One of the things I love most is when a poetry book forces me to slow down, to linger in every pause between breaths and reckon with the awareness that Reading is, itself, an act of consumption. Cut Woman does just this. From “night // fall” to “day//break,” Igusti’s speaker forces readers to linger in the spaces both within and between words, bodies, and countries, even when those spaces do not yet exist: “altar of my body did i give you // a forever // i could not promise? // …// an altered kind of grief?” These poems slice, piece, project only to gut open. These poems remember despite Memory: “i purposely forget // the prayer for when someone dies // inna-illahi-something // i always remember how to start // grieving // but // never when or how to let it out of my mouth.” Dena Igusti is a poet of undying urgency – this is a bold, heart-shattering chapbook debut. – George Abraham, author of Birthright (Button Poetry)