University of Utah Press, 2011
Winner of the 2010 Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry
In the Human Zoo reveals encounters with a world that is both fragile and dangerous, a perilous, surreal place where not only humans but also creatures as innocuous as fireflies and owls become potential threats. Throughout the collection, speakers wrestle with human violence through a multitude of perspectives: the fear and resistance of victims, the frustration and outrage of witnesses, the regret and recognition of a global history in which so many people have participated as perpetrators. While the people who inhabit the world of this collection might yet remain caged, they nevertheless struggle to unleash themselves and each other through language.
“Jennifer Perrine’s poems, saturated in taut emotion and even in overt violence, are yet cooled, disciplined, by rigorous rendering, carefully evoked locations and descriptions. Jennifer Perrine is a deeply committed poet, intelligent, intense and perceptive of the minutiae of inner and outer human trauma.”