“SKIN SPLITTING is both fantastic and familiar, the way dreams often are, and although the book’s imagined encounters with infamous serial killers are compelling enough, I am even more intrigued by the speaker of these poems, witty, despairing, tender, and exposed.”
Author of The Foundling Wheel
"IN SKIN SPLITTING, Bryanna Licciardi writes, 'He's leading me up the stairs / and, though I look back, / I can't think of a reason to stop him.' She leads the reader to notorious serial killers like John Wayne Gacy and Jeffrey Dahmer, but not to be slaughtered; instead, with exuberantly original lines and images, she invites one to face the horror in every day situations—a dinner, a party, a walk. She examines her own skin and reactions—asking readers to consider their own imperfections. Later, she compares humans to animals, 'But then again / if we were perfect / there would be no need for love.' If we were perfect there would be no need for poetry. Thankfully we're not and thankfully Licciardi is writing poems."
Author of Eva, Too Heavy to Carry, & The Book of Levinson
“YOUR MOTHER would warn you about this book, the way she’d warn you against tabloid headlines concerning alien abductions and two-headed dogs; the way she’d advise you avoid the carnival freak show; the way she’d mention your boyfriend looks uncannily like that serial killer she once saw on America’s Most Wanted. It’s best not to dwell on the disturbing. But '[s]ome woman once said you should do the things that scare you,' Bryanna Licciardi reminds us. So pick up this unforgettable debut collection. Delight in a poet who embraces her obsessions and fears with a dark wit sure to unhinge your mother, and with good cause: These poems have been watching you. They’ve been lurking—in American culture and body image, in the odd footnotes of history, sometimes behind the neighbor’s car. They smell like tequila and eat like wolves. They are smart and self-aware and know exactly how to make you squirm.”
Author of Heaven Was the Moon
“THE POEMS in Bryanna Licciardi’s Skin Splitting are poems of confession, perspective, and obsession. Raw and brave, these poems reveal dark truths, dragging them into light and asking 'Where’s the heart / supposed to be?' The poet says, 'I want . . . to grow like a river, / narrow, then wide, then endlessly,' and this is exactly what she does, weaving mysteries and realities until the questions we ask our deepest souls come to the surface: What do we want? What do we need? Is it safe to be who we really are? These poems dig deep – past skin, past bone – into the blood of the human existence, still animalistic, still 'exploited by flaws.' As much as words can split our emotions, these poems declare 'See, I am breakable,' and by claiming that truth we find ourselves face to face with both the beauty and the brutality that exists in every human heart.”
Author of The Presence of Absence & Rivers Within Us