TORY DENT (1958-2005) is the author of three volumes of poetry: Black Milk, HIV, Mon Amour, and What Silence Equals. Her honors include grants from the New York Foundation for the Arts, The Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award, and three PEN American Center Grants for Writers with AIDS.
There has never been a poetry quite like this before, so passionately and understandably barbaric in its deployment of uselessly learned words. And withal, stormily beautiful, at the border where beauty tolerates the sublime.
Tory Dent is an unparalleled voice in American writing. She takes the Whitmanian line to heights and depths of extremity. Speaking from the interior of a consciousness immutably transformed by AIDS, our millennial plague, she enunciates all human despair, in a language elegant and extravagant enough to be, itself, a kind of redemption.
Writing poems from within the siege state of the body, Tory’s language uncoils with such vitality, it would seem that speaking were an act of the immune system, a primary means of survival.