In the Human Zoo


Honoring the memory of a celebrated poet and a beloved teacher, the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry is awarded annually and is sponsored by the University of Utah Press and the University of Utah Department of English.

In the Human Zoo reveals encounters with a world that is both fragile and dangerous, a perilous, surreal place where not only humans but also creatures as innocuous as fireflies and owls become potential threats. Throughout the collection, speakers wrestle with human violence through a multitude of perspectives: the fear and resistance of victims, the frustration and outrage of witnesses, the regret and recognition of a global history in which so many people have participated as perpetrators. While the people who inhabit the world of this collection might yet remain caged, they nevertheless struggle to unleash themselves and each other through language.

Jennifer Perrine is an assistant professor of English at Drake University in Des Moines, Iowa, where she teaches creative writing and gender studies.


Praise and Reviews:

“Jennifer Perrine’s poems, saturated in taut emotion and even in overt violence, are yet cooled, disciplined, by rigorous rendering, carefully evoked locations and descriptions. Jennifer Perrine is a deeply committed poet, intelligent, intense and perceptive of the minutiae of inner and outer human trauma.”—Anne Winters, Professor Emerita of Poetry, University of Illinois at Chicago


"...an unflinching, haunting and beautiful observation of life's perils and pain. Often drawing on imagery from the natural and even the mythological world, Perrine's vivid and taut verses convey the longing to be free from physical dangers and emotional cages."—dsmMagazine.com