"This whip-smart collection is a playful celebration of feminine power.”
"Goddam funny ... a clinic in irony. What a beautiful book.”
"With the verve of Alice Fulton and the panache of Gerald Stern, Sysko keens into the canon, a welcome voice. Sing, indeed, heavenly muse.”
—Alan Michael Parker
"With electric nerve, L.J. Sysko's savvy and often comic poems careen through American pop culture and the suburban world that infantalizes and traps women. Sysko fixes her gaze on adolescent girls and their trajectory into selfhood—a path that takes them through sexual shame and erasure, and then, as they age, into defiance."
—Anne Marie Macari
2023 Miller Williams Poetry Prize First Finalist
Selected by Patricia Smith
The Daughter of Man follows its unorthodox heroine as she transforms from maiden to warrior—then to queen, maven, and crone—against the backdrop of suburban America from the 1980s to today. In this bold reframing of the hero’s journey, L. J. Sysko serves up biting social commentary and humorous, unsparing self-critique while enlisting an eccentric cast that includes Betsy Ross as sex worker, Dolly Parton as raptor, and a bemused MILF who exchanges glances with a young man at a gas station. Sysko’s revisions of René Magritte’s modernist icon The Son of Man and the paintings of baroque artist Artemisia Gentileschi, whose extraordinary talent was nearly eclipsed after she took her rapist to trial, loom large in this multifaceted portrait of womanhood. With uncommon force, The Daughter of Man confronts misogyny and violence, even as it bursts with nostalgia, lust, and poignant humor.