“Desire itself is an island, a bordered country within the body. What surrounds it is also what agitates and tensions its sovereignty— the contradictions of being. On the one hand is the body’s hunger, with its visceral pangs, which Charles poignantly noted as ‘the awakening of a deeper craving.’ Then the warmth/tenderness of love, romance and the emptiness that attends the mind in the wake of their disappearance. The poems in the chapbook articulate, in sharp and refreshing lines, the fraught and weighted moments of sexual awaking, especially for queer people whose desires have at once been policed and neglected. The language is lyrical and beaded with stunning observational details from pop culture to queer history and back to the self again. Artificial Sweetness is unflinching in its investigation of the body and its various locations of trauma and tenderness. It is alive and full of life too.” – Chibuihe Obi Achimba, author of Hallowed

“Raw, intimate, and ethereal. Charles K. Carter’s Artificial Sweetness is a stunning coming-of-age tale, a requiem for queer love, and a sensual, spiritual, elegy to a gay boy clawing his way through young adulthood. The reader takes a voyeuristic role, following Charles down a rabbit hole of gay hookups, lost love, and grief; Artificial Sweetness is a perpetually unwinding thread, a sprawling, ‘pure and unrestricted’ narrative. Charles delicately experiments with form in poems like Tongue and the collection’s stand-out piece, What Was. Other poems, such as The A-to-Z’s of Losing You, Crushed, Jealous, and Time Bending, are striking vignettes of Charles’ various romantic and sexual connections, ‘the stars’ briefly kissing ‘the / bright eyes of god.’ Artificial Sweetness is more than poetry; it’s a gorgeous, devastating love story, a hymn for queer boys everywhere. For me, this is one of those rare cases where a book somehow captures that thing, that unspoken, irresistible, spiritual and romantic knowing which edges on the indescribable, touching a particular nerve which when people ask you to explain all you can do is look at them, take a breath, and say: Just read it. You’ll know what I mean.” – Ari Lohr, author of Gravity

“Charles K. Carter swings effortlessly from dizzy yearning to quirky playfulness to diamond-sharp psychological insight. Poem after poem glows with a sense that even the most transient of everyday objects such as fries, soda or lipstick can serve as vehicles into Carter’s imaginative lyricism. Read My Lips is a bold yet tender, direct yet shimmering collection of poems by a bright young American poet.” – Bren Booth-Jones, author of Open Letters to the Sky

“Waking up to the vulnerability of the body and the heart, the speaker of Read My Lips shares what it is to surrender. The urgency in these pages is honest and forever unapologetic.”  – Lauren Davis, author of Home Beneath the Church

“In Read My Lips, Charles K. Carter leads the reader back in time, into the pained and glorious years of adolescent heartbreak, and of coming to terms with one’s sexuality in a world that seems dedicated to forcing us to hide who we are from it. But Carter knows that we cannot, ever. The poems, here, are a testament to all of the ways in which one must raise one’s voice and shout to the world; we are here and we are enough! Underlying this work is a groundswell of deep, deep courage and the desire to tell others; in this, you are never alone.” – James Diaz, author of This Someone I Call Stranger

“Charles K. Carter’s Salem Revisited is a proud work of humanizing protest against homophobic and transphobic violence. It’s Salem again whenever this violence appears, and this book reminds me that it takes a lot of courage to live and work and love and teach in a country that one minute can look like 2020 and another minute feel like 1693 with all of its ghosts we must remember.” – David Blair, author of Ascension Days

“Charles K. Carter’s Salem Revisited is an apt and compelling title for his book of poems, which exposes the truth of our society’s oppression and violence against those in the LGBTQ-T community. Highlighting autopsy reports from New York City to San Francisco, from campground to subway, these poems underscore that patriarchy and prejudice don’t discriminate even in the places closest to our hearts. In ‘Waiting in Line’ the phrase, ‘when you love something/you pay for it’ takes on a new and horrifying meaning. These poems unflinching music requires the reader to ask themselves, ‘In a millennia what/will those digging up these scarred/ remains think of us?’ (‘Etchings’) and force them to deal with their answers.” – Andrea England,  author of Other Geographies

“In Salem Revisited, Charles K. Carter takes on the troubling parallels between historical events and current culture. These poems are unapologetic and raw. They reach out and grab you, and they won’t let go.” – Gwen Hart, author of Lost and Found

“With economy and subtle beauty, Charles K. Carter captures the essence of the human experience packed into small moments of time. His astute observations, such as dancing one last polka with someone who has wrinkled hands, illuminate the impermanence of life, celebratory events, and love itself. Indeed, his haiku on the ebb and flow of love and the emotional roadblocks to being truly free to give and receive pure love, drives this exquisite collection. From resting in the morning light with his lover’s head on his chest, to finding solace from a broken heart in shots of whiskey, Safety-Pinned Hearts leads the reader on an adventure overflowing with recognition that this is how love, and life, is for most of us. Brandon Carter’s illustrations add an extra dose of poignancy to clarity found in Charles’s haiku.” – e.b. littlehill, author of See the Dragons

“In Splinters, Charles K. Carter carves the weight of struggles through the words like rivers through rock. These poems are the inevitable canyons. The very first in the collection, “Mother” suggests a weariness. A being who has carried the weight of the world, who has surpassed it, yet not without loss. Yet, there is comfort here. There is hope. A sign that the struggles are worth it. What can we do with the titular Splinters but to weather them off? To smooth out the trauma? Even then, those gaps remain, those tiny imperfections. But what we’ve done is enough. It has to be. We live with the wounds, but we will live on. This is the through line that vividly pulses through these poems – the kindle that ignites them all.” – Sam Jowett, author of Self

“Charles K. Carter’s heartfelt collection, Splinters, offers readers poignant glimpses of the intersections between the natural world and the human experience. Invoking a wide array of poetic traditions, Carter introduces readers to ‘the bright ones,’ then turns his eye to ‘that radio signal of hate.’ In spending time with this raw, accessible collection, readers will begin to learn ‘what hope for us there is left.’ Pulsing with love, loss, and hard-won joy, these poems are both ‘power and warning’: an exploration of what splinters us, and how we can rebuild.” – Gaia Rajan, author of Moth Funerals

“Charles K. Carter’s collection, Splinters, aims to answer the age-old question, What is love? Exploring themes such as intimacy, sexuality, family, and identity, Carter takes the reader through a hurricane of emotion. Relating weather events to daily events, Splinters a magnifying glass to examine how we interact with the world, and how the world interacts with us.” – Lynne Schmidt, author of Dead Dog Poems

“In Chasing Sunshine by Charles K. Carter, the reader is taken through an exploration of sexuality and gender through the lens of a growing child through to adulthood and the desire and search for happiness that still persists. Such themes guide this chapbook towards a beautiful, heartfelt ending. This collection speaks to the gay experience through the lens of modern society and the attacks that the entire LGBTQIA+ faces from childhood to adulthood. I particularly enjoyed the persistent usage of contrasting imagery to present the duality of the gay experience.  Desperation, lust and self-growth present a complex picture of life in the modern world as the ‘other’. The use of form in this particular chapbook is intriguing and reinforces the overarching narrative of the collection through a mix of experimental and more standardized forms. In addition, allies can learn how to better understand LGBTQIA+ people from gaining a deep, insightful and highly emotive perspective on their trials and tribulations and in particular, the sadness and abuse that comes with being an ‘outsider’. The use of bold and verbose language highlights the innate truths that follow all people who grow up facing the constraining hand of homophobia. Finally, the greatest takeaway from Charles K. Carter’s Chasing Sunshine is that it does get better! Through pain, bitter nights and yearning, Carter writes his truth, a universal truth, that love is love in this world.” – A.R. Salandy, author of The Great Northern Journey

Chasing Sunshine is an apt title for this heartfelt and often heartbreaking collection of poems that chronicles the young life of a queer poet as he struggles with finding his identity as an outlier in a straight male dominated family and world. The voice in these poems speaks for many who have had to confront an uber-male father, bullies, and a hateful culture. The reader journeys with the poet as he explores his sexuality and sensuality, finding safety where he can on the shore, in a car wash, in the arms of a lover. It is a triumphant voice, that inspires the reader, especially anyone struggling with their identity, as we all have, whatever our natural impulses and characteristics.” – Richard Stuecker, author of The Uncertainty Principle

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