cover image Tressing Motions at the Edge of Mistakes

Tressing Motions at the Edge of Mistakes

Imane Boukaila. Milkweed, $16 trade paper (120p) ISBN 978-1-63955-078-4

Boukaila’s boundary-pushing debut explores truth, reluctance, and an unrestrained mind. Boukaila, a nonspeaking autistic poet, celebrates neurodivergent modes of thinking that trespass norms and linear expectations through associative logic: “Plotting optimizes thinking/ forcing the motioned streams/ to pause.” The poems cohere around aquatic metaphors, such as currents of water, trout navigating streams, and truth as a buried treasure to unearth. Titles such as “Streaming tressed titrating truths shape minds dancing motions” and “(Regurgitating Trialed Catfish)” suggest the fragmentation, wordplay, and irregular spacing on the page the poet uses to convey a sense of thoughts in fluid motion. Boukaila invites readers to embrace mistakes as sources of creativity and possibility by largely eschewing standard grammar and structure. By using concrete imagery and bending grammar to her ends, Boukaila frees “nomadic treasures” of the mind and stakes new territories for neurodivergent expression. This challenging yet rewarding collection expands the concept of what language can do. (Jan.)