Refuse by Julian Randall

$17.00 University of Pittsburgh

Julian Randall’s debut, Refuse, illustrates the mind’s ever-so-gnawing struggle with binaries, boundaries, and identity. In these poems, we see bodies split and silenced, warred and hungry. There is never a dull moment, because such is being human, such are these poems. A voice that tackles what it means to move through society as someone who is with and without language, this debut unravels. Refuse wants to know what happens to the body when the body is undefined. Randall confronts his heritage, his family, and his sexuality wholeheartedly, unashamed in his unknowing. Not only does Randall interrogate beauty, he illuminates ugliness. He writes, “I am a burden in every mouth.” He writes, “Stupid boy planned his own death / so poorly he survived.” There is a wilderness behind these poems, a wilderness that refuses to be tamed.

—Luther Hughes