Dead in Long Beach, California
Grief Is for People

Ten Bridges I've Burnt

9780374612696 fc
Paperback, MCD × FSG, 2024

Brontez Purnell

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From the beloved author of 100 Boyfriends, a wrenching, sexy, and exhilaratingly energetic memoir in verse.

In Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt, Brontez Purnell—the bard of the underloved and overlooked—turns his gaze inward. A storyteller with a musical eye for the absurdity of his own existence, he is peerless in his ability to find the levity within the stormiest of crises. Here, in his first collection of genre-defying verse, Purnell reflects on his peripatetic life, whose ups and downs have nothing on the turmoil within. “The most high-risk homosexual behavior I engage in,” Purnell writes, “is simply existing.”

The thirty-eight autobiographical pieces pulsing in Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt find Purnell at his no-holds-barred best. He remembers a vicious brawl he participated in at a poetry conference and reckons with packaging his trauma for TV writers’ rooms; wrestles with the curses, and gifts, passed down from generations of family members; and chronicles, with breathless verve, a list of hell-raising misadventures and sexcapades. Through it all, he muses on everything from love and loneliness to capitalism and Blackness to jogging and the ethics of art, always with unpredictable clarity and movement.

With the same balance of wit and wisdom that made 100 Boyfriends a sensation, Purnell unleashes another collection of boundary-pushing writing with Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt, a book as original and thrilling as the author himself.

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  • "This book is brutal and brutally honest, but still perversely addictive because Brontez Purnell is a performer in the truest sense. Reading Ten Bridges I've Burnt, I felt tucked-in with him, along for the intimate ride, and paused only once to write down a part I’d been looking for my whole life." 

    —Miranda July

  • "Lines leap out of themselves like light eruptions from the funniest angel you ever saw. I could listen to this poet for hours, drive for days on a single thought." 

    —Eileen Myles, author of A "Working Life"

  • Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt is Purnell’s first collection of poetry, and it crackles like a live wire with his unique voice: Black, playful, gay, Southern, militant, joyful, queer, sexy, real, Bay Arean, and indisputably his own. Providing glimpses of the exciting life he’s lived, Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt also suggests options for how to live in the world now.”

     —John Keene, author of Punks: New and Selected Poems, winner of the 2022 National Book Award for Poetry

  • "Brontez Purnell has impeccable comic timing and the gift of absolute candor. His poems leap off the page with insouciant, revolutionary speed. The urgent messages they deliver—with stinging wit and carefully honed critical defiance—provide inspiring models for how to perform, how to thrive, and how to write."

     —Wayne Koestenbaum

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