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Begging for It Front cover

paper • 96 pages • 15.95
ISBN-13: 978-1-935536-26-0

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Begging for It

Alex Dimitrov

Alex Dimitrov leads us through the streets, bridges, and bedrooms of New York City, sometimes as far away as Buenos Aires and Iceland, and as close as our own darkest corners. A Bulgarian immigrant, Dimitrov writes as both observer of and fervent participant in an “American youth,” as his speakers navigate both the physical and emotional landscapes of desire, intimacy, and longing—whether for a friend, a lover, or a self, “Saint or stranger, I still recklessly seek you.”

Throughout the collection, we are consistently rooted in place: a seemingly American place, a New York place, an emotional space in which “the body becomes a cage you can’t feel your way out of.” In one poem, we meet Hart Crane at the St. Mark’s Baths; in another, the speaker is reading Montaigne while a car crashes into the Gowanus Canal. Dimitrov invokes Rimbaud, Proust, Wilde, Barthes, Sontag, even James Franco. A contemporary coming-of-age in which the speakers are as much immersed in the present as they are plagued and enchanted by the past, this collection is very much alive. And even as Dimitrov assures us that “we were given more than we can drown,” he warns, almost seductively: “Don’t worry. No one is spared.”

“Sensualism,” from Begging for It:

While lying in bed I think about sensualism.
A mosquito presses into my skin
with such cruelty I mistake it for love.

The stranger above my window decides to jump and doesn't. Where was I? I was opening the door to your life and mine. We have some words for each other and then what? We have some nights in a city next to an ocean filled with more longing than we can describe. I want to place your hand close to the knife and let it sit there. I want more than the cut or how we'll gently spill out. The mosquito will drink for as long as I'll let it. And I do. I hold still waiting for you. The vein rises. It is this flood of living that comes.

 

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About the Author


  • “Alex Dimitrov's passionate, headlong poems seem to want to carve beneath the surface of gestures, beneath the skin, to the warm and dangerous blood beneath—until sex, and the poem itself, are ‘a nerve brightly turning in a closed room of the mind—.’…Begging for It is a fierce and memorable debut.” —Mark Doty
  • Begging for It … provides evidence not only that poetry has survived into the 21st century, but has mutated, as poetry must. It is poetry that could only have been written now…Dimitrov is that rarest of creatures, a true poet and a truly contemporary poet. Thank god he’s here.” —Michael Cunningham
  • “Alex Dimitrov is a new poetry star, and his debut book’s a heartbreaker…Dimitrov plays hard with the big boys (Barthes, Wilde, Fitzgerald, Father, Mother, Lover and Other) and he lobs fast and fervent, winning even though this game isn’t a game. It is life. The poet is generous with that victory. Truth-telling, raw, fierce with feeling—he is indeed victorious, and so are his star-struck readers.” —Brenda Shaughnessy
  • “…The poems are savage and ferocious in their insistence that the fate of the soul, that ultimate perspectives dog our every step. They are perfectly earnest, skeptical about earnestness and about being skeptical: ‘We were given more than we can drown.’ They are sophisticated about everything that has happened in poetry, and extend it. I loved this book.” —Frank Bidart
  • “The collection reads with the ebb and flow of a good party. And you know what? A good party has a hallowed place in literature. This one is haunted by the spirits of Baudelaire, Rimbaud, and Oscar Wilde, as well as late arrivals Brigitte Bardot, James Dean, and, yes, even James Franco.” Read the full review.