A collection of moving and tender poems that delves into questions of masculinity, fatherhood, home, and learning to live in and love one’s own body.
In his second full-length poetry collection, Chicago-born poet Dan “Sully” Sullivan considers the male body—its momentum and privilege when moving through the world, but also its softness and vulnerability. As the poems unfold and questions unravel, the book challenges wider social systems that uphold patriarchal notions of masculinity, seeking to achieve a new register of compassion, of self-love.
O Body is also a migration narrative, navigating the physical distances between cities—the speaker’s movement between Chicago and his new home in Bloomington—and beyond that, the expansive, immeasurable distances within the self. Cityscapes come alive on the page and relationships bloom and deepen as Sully explores love, fatherhood, and family; here, traditional assumptions regarding masculinity and beauty are called into question through the speaker’s tenderhearted wondering.
As more and more people awaken to the realization that the patriarchy oppresses people of all genders, Sully’s work in O Body offers a much-needed narrative of that shifting perspective. This deeply self-aware and big-hearted book holds space for reflecting on one’s physical body and interiority: the complex relationship between the two as well as their intricate and often fraught connections to the wider community and the places we call home.
"Dan “Sully” Sullivan’s O Body is a feat of tenderness, an act of profound, sweet wondering, the word I mean is care, not only for the home of one’s own body, but for the homes one’s body might offer other bodies. The shelter we might make of each other. He gets there by going deep with his sorrow and his shame. He gets there through humor and music and story. And when he emerges, he brings with him devotion. To a city, a home, a partner, a daughter, all of them with their own luminous and permanent rooms in this wondrous, this accidental, this precious, O body."
—Ross Gay, author of Be Holding: A Poem
"The voice in Sully’s book O Body is intimate and tender—these are tavern style poems to be shared with friends and strangers over beer and pizza. I could tell you about the voltas in these poems, how the language of images build in the poems and then throughout multiple poems, and it’s all true, but mostly, I want you to know I read O Body in one sitting. I laughed and gasped and cussed because of how good these poems are."
—José Olivarez, Author of CITIZEN ILLEGAL