Claudia F. Savage’s song to her lover proves so thick in the throat that it also thrums a hymn to very eros. Bruising Continents strains at the page: it resembles the hive in one of its poems, whose bees “have invaded the roof” of a house and “dance ecstatically in the morning light, / their persuasive song straining their undersized container.”  
H. L. Hix, author of I’m Here to Learn to Dream in Your Language

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SAMPLE POEM (first published in The Denver Quarterly, Spring 2015, Vol. 49, no. 3)


You should say, break the horse of uncertainty and the spirit goes, too. You should know I’m greedy. I’ll divide, then build on predictability. I’ll take your lower lip, its shelf swollen for the upper's outstretched wings. And the smooth warmth of your elbow joint as it awakens to my ribs’ weight. But, then, his forearms, bulbous gourds of blood. His back pushing two shoulder sockets to the edge of his body’s map as he lifts the dog, a mile to go, when her paws were full of cactus. It wasn’t just that he did it, it was how, cooing, it’s OK, baby, into her left ear and how her body went limp in his arms, her head falling to his ministrations. Still, I can't see how your bright spirit, a lantern of sea urchin, will fit into his tortoise shell. Or how his heartbeat, thickened by years of restraint, can be staccatoed.

I'm still not certain how to build a man.

When song’s measure enters time’s moment, life’s series of instant to instant chained grows intricate, interlaced, and wondrously excessive; the basic boundaries break down their barriers—I becomes you, self becomes world; the vast and erotic reciprocities are let loose and learn to confound the page that holds the poem in which this wildness finds its awful, full-of-awe record. The very title of Claudia F. Savage’s Bruising Continents suggests that each body is a world all its own, and each world a body—land a kind of skin, skin a kind of land, and the love story lurking deep inside the drama of these poems reveals that eros properly seen is a force as monumental as continental drift.  
 Dan Beachy-Quick, author of gentlessness

This book will break your heart, your bones and your spine with awe through its metabolism of light and language. An injury begins “I wasn’t a precious bird” and the collection navigates through a “bruised continent” where the brittle, bony archive of human loss sediments. This bruise is a tender spot though, a place that transits through seasons of colour in cellular and earthly time where the “vivid chemistry of water” operates. Savage turns her alchemical eye to the process of healing to re-present the world to us through rain that “wants to be music”.     
— Jayne Fenton Keane, author of The Transparent Lung

Claudia F. Savage’s poetry seeps into your body and leaves you wanting more than simply a taste. Once inside her words, you want to devour and gulp ferociously until you are full of her magic. Bruising Continents is remarkable work from a remarkable writer.     
— Katie Jean Shinkle, author of Baby-Doll Under Ice and The Arson People