Heavenly Bodies

Finalist, National Book Awards 2012 for Poetry

Poetry_Huntington_Heavenly Bodies
ISBN 9780809330638
Southern Illinois University Press
Cynthia Huntington
Cynthia Huntington

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In this blistering collection of lyric poems, Cynthia Huntington gives an intimate view of the sexual revolution and rebellion in a time before the rise of feminism. Heavenly Bodies is a testament to the duality of sex, the twin seductiveness and horror of drug addiction, and the social, political, and personal dramas of America in the 1960s. Echoing throughout are some of the most famous—and infamous—voices of the times: Joan Baez and Charles Manson, Frank Zappa and Betty Friedan. Jinns and aliens beckon while cities burn and revolutionaries thunder for change. At the center is the semiautobiographical Suzy Creamcheese, sensual and rebellious, both almighty and powerless in her sexuality.

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Cynthia Huntington’s Heavenly Bodies is a fearless and exacting exploration of illness, addiction, abuse, and the waning of American idealism.  These poems are unblinking in the face of dark subject matter, and surprising in their capacity for hope, for grace. Huntington’s speakers are as vast and compassionate—as empathetic and multitudinous—as Whitman’s, and they sing of the beauty and seductive brutality of survival in a world perpetually “alight with new dangers.”