Book Review: Periodic Boyfriends

Reviewer: Antonia Cassetta

Author: Drew Pisarra

The new, viscerally queer poetry collection from Drew Pisarra is a carnal exploration of love and sexuality through a series of encounters laid out across the periodic table. The collection, Periodic Boyfriends, is a delicious mix of feelings, chemicals, queerness, and blood that through sonnets, creates an experience that whisks the reader through various times and places yet grounds us in a stark reality of queer love. Pisarra holds no punches in his descriptions of his flawed, embarrassing, and disappointing encounters, and instead presents us with blunt, real and ultimately human stories. The collection is satisfyingly thematic as it progresses through the chemical elements, each of the 118 poems illustrating a telling snippet of the lives of these sexual partners. In this way the poems and the feelings attached to them are transient, however they are also immortalised as their stories are written out. While Pisarra actively chose to omit the names of his past lovers, their identities in the collection as chemicals form together to create a molecular tapestry of connections and shared memories. Pisarra’s ironic and toying lines, sometimes amusing and sometimes piercingly direct, palpably describe the people and the environments Pisarra has found himself in. Particularly the pointed use of the senses helps to make these sonnets come to life—feeling and real and dissected.

The humanness of this collection is striking, that cannot be understated. The poems themselves sweep the reader directly into Pisarra’s world and without any hesitation or stifling, thrust us into his life, skipping any pretence. The lives and stories of queer authors and people like Drew Pisarra are crucial not only to showcase the diverse and intricate experiences people have with our world, but to enrich our own lives.



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