Small press! "I am completely enthralled by Francesca Kritikos’ poetry. In Exercise in Desire, each poem is like a fishbone that has been picked clean, leaving behind only what is most essential, what is most true, with a piercing discernment that will steal your breath away. Kritikos is a genius at structure and provides the reader nowhere to hide. Her poems force us to acknowledge and live inside those degraded parts of ourselves, each of the untitled poems in this collection effortlessly building upon the previous one, ultimately culminating in the holy/unholy creation of an animal that is at once afraid, and in awe of, what it is capable of getting away with. What else can I say except—I devoured this book and immediately hungered for more."
—Meghann Boltz, author of Cautionary Tale
"Francesca Kritikos’ spare and severe poems in Exercise in Desire outline a female subject in all her discomforts and wants. One-part lover’s discourse, one-part dark comedy, the sullen and yielding speaker in Exercise in Desire appeals to the side of me that enjoys Ingmar Bergman or Michael Haneke, Elfriede Jelinek or Ariana Reines. One thinks of a submissive animal, or how one’s own suffering becomes timeless and universal. Kritikos is correct to understand that looking at pictures of the ocean is a more attractive idea than leaving the house, ever. Exercise in Desire is merciful and controlled, with an alluring vision and voice that is sure to win over lots of readers."
—Ben Fama, author of Deathwish
By Francesca Kritikos. Paperback. 60 pages. Published by Vegetarian Alcoholic Press, 2022.