In her debut collection, Ashley-Elizabeth Best explores the cultivation of resilience during uncertain and often trying times. It’s a book built around day-to-day conflicts — poems about love, family, grief, power, and longing. Navigating the fault lines of popular culture and traditional poetry to assert that we are all history makers, Slow States of Collapse enters the landscape of personal narrative in an attempt to reconcile life’s little universal griefs.
Slow States of Collapse presents a world that is at once both menacing and full of wonder and grace. It’s a poetry of “casual cruelty” and “kisses like / puncture wounds,” of “something too tender to touch” and “the threat of an intense beauty.” In this collection, illness confronts bedside manners while a migrant restlessness also paints remarkable portraits of shifting self-image, and in the process the nature of personal and political power is reimagined.