University of Akron Press
Velvet Hounds is a completely combustible collection of poetry. In extravagant, shape-shifting imagery and mythic-meets-black-leather vernacular, Seu takes readers on a journey through reckless youth, first love, addiction, bliss, agony and mayhem. Velvet Hounds is a semi-autobiographical collection bearing reckless witness, with nothing held back, to the wreckage bulimia nervosa makes of a body and spirit as well as the pain and personal schisms from which such a disorder might stem. In Velvet Hounds, Seu also delves into the difficulties of growing up the biracial, pansexual, wayfaring child of a deceased pastor and fundamentalist Christian writer mother. The book chronicles the effects of her mother's and her own wavering mental health and through that lens, the incoherent and dangerous labyrinth two people's psychosis can create when they collide. From impassioned, ecstatic, abstracted odes like G-Spot, “strongroom, throne room of baritone ache” & Clitoral “Sinewed capsule / of holy spirit. My body, / the electric chair / berserk.” To the clarity and searing vulnerability of narrative sequences like the long poem “Ox Hunger Essay” which chronicles different thresholds in the narrators struggle with death, betrayal, bulimia, and the isolation of identity “I developed a habit of wringing / my stomach out in my throat.” Never shying away from the erotic, visceral, nightmarish or any juiced-up phantasmagorical earthly heaven, Velvet Hounds is a thunderstorm you'll lose yourself inside.
Aimee Seu is the author of Velvet Hounds, winner of The Akron Poetry Prize. She graduated from the University of Virginia Creative Writing MFA Poetry Program in 2020 as a Poe/Faulkner Fellow where she was recipient of the 2019 Academy of American Poets Prize. Other awards she’s received include the 2020 Los Angeles Review Poetry Award, the 2020 Henfield Prize for Fiction, the 2016 Academy of American Poets Prize at Temple University, the Temple University 2016 William Van Wert Award, and the Mills College Undergraduate Poetry Award. She was a semifinalist in the 2019 New Guard Vol. IX Knightville Poetry Contest judged by Richard Blanco and a finalist for the 2020 Black Warrior Poetry Prize judged by Paul Tran. Her poetry, fiction and nonfiction have appeared or have forthcoming publications in Ninth Letter, Pleiades, Los Angeles Review, BOAAT, Redivider, Raleigh Review, Diode, Minnesota Review, Blacklist, Adroit, Harpur Palate, and Runestone Magazine. She is a Philadelphia native currently living in Tallahassee where she is a Poetry PhD student at Florida State University.