Poet Akinfe Fatou wants to make you ‘Swoon’


Akinfe Fatou’s new poetry collection, “Swoon,” presents tangible physicality, organic sensuality, and multi-layered intimacy intended to arouse and to empower. “Swoon,” the follow-up to her 2008 collection, “Once as Lovers,” moves away from that first book’s overt sexual preoccupation and toward a more complex idea of the sensuous. But first and foremost, it is poetry about the body and everything that comes with it. “We are spiritual beings, but we’re in the physical,” Fatou says. “That’s how we relate, flesh to flesh, as opposed to that spiritual connection right off the bat.”

“Swoon” certainly puts readers in mind of the flesh: “I kiss the blood / And raise the flesh / You left behind / […] I tasted your skin,” reads “Square of 5th’s,” one of Fatou’s own favorites in the collection. Another of her favorites, “Evenings Like These,” presents a quieter but no less tangible vignette of physicality: “All the lovers / Nudging one another / […] Pretending to read / Each other’s palms.”

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