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Incantatory, intimate, and incendiary, the poems of this award-winning debut are filled with explosive wit and humor like a knife you don’t see coming.” A kaleidoscopic intelligence flows through Beautiful Zero, embracing forms of culture high and low in effort to finding meaning in the chaos. Poems about Shark Week and college football sit beside Roman Polanski and biting critiques of modern war. A series of poems set in a Kaiser Permanente hospital tear into the world of privatized health care while simultaneously charting a story of love in the face of catastrophe. Yet even at her most surreal, Willoughby always finds the pulsing heart at the core of the poem. She embraces what she cannot understand about both the world and herself because after all, Nothing is as random as they say it is. / You were born the weirdo that you are.”
Jennifer Willoughby’s poetry has appeared in the Believer, Boston Review, and the Indiana Review, among many others. She has received a McKnight Artist Fellowship, as well as the Academy of American Poets James Wright Award. Willoughby graduated from the University of Minnesota’s MFA program and currently works as a freelance advertising copywriter. Born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, she currently lives in Minneapolis, MN.