Creative Writing

Living Without Skin

Living Without Skin by  Gabriel Don, graduate ’13, MFA in Creative Writing program at The New School  

A Gathering of the Tribes, 2019

From the publisher:

This is Gabriel Don. Her light cannot be kept in a jar. Her words turn lead into gold. Don’t mess with her babies — she will G check you without a posse. She is Queen Elizabeth I encamped at Tilbury, she is Isis piecing Osiris together, she is dangerous and vulnerable and powerful. Powerful because vulnerable. This is Gabriel Don’s first collection and she doesn’t mean business; she means “Oh Henry you can’t be so clumsy with your cock.” Don’t let the politeness fool you. Sharon Mesmer

Don is part lover, part inquisitor, cooing with a quillon dagger. Open your eyes and she’ll still be there, standing in the doorway. – John Reed

Part mermaid, part songstress, part sorceress weaving time and imagery from air and dust, forming acute observations that are uncovered on every page, Gabriel Don’s poems juxtapose from anguish to seductive to the thunder longing to shake the foundations of social norms. Her work is a proclamation “from which a lioness–a wild beast stretches.” This collection captures past and present in visceral and tactile ways, reconstructing mysteries both in the internal and external worlds. As the poet proclaims, “The universe is as chaotic as me.” Don’s pursuit of discovery is authentic and triumphant. – John Casquarelli

Gabriel Don’s voice is whimsical and unapologetically feminist. Her poetry fearlessly and guilelessly tells the truth about how the female body is naturally beautiful without the artifices and enslavements of the beauty-industrial complex. Her prose poems are lushly cinematic in detailing her memories of Dubai, Australia and Singapore, and they are among the most memorable poems in this collection. – Christine Chia

Gabriel Don’s first collection, Living Without Skin, is set in cityscapes, Middle Eastern desert sands and Australian bush. She opens her heart and explores love of people, places and her capacity for sadness, love and joy. Magical and unconstrained. Powerful, playful and honest. – Coral Carter

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