Eating Matters

By Kara-Lee MacDonald

Categories: Poetry
Imprint: Caitlin Press
Paperback : 9781987915136, 64 pages, October 2016


Kara-lee MacDonald is a survivor. The poems in Eating Matters are sophisticated explorations of anorexia and bulimia, from within and in retrospect, as the semiautobiographical narrator faces and overcomes her complex drives and compulsions. Through a variety of poetic forms, she explores the deep structures of body images and societal pressures that create and promulgate eating disorders and the culture of shame surrounding them. The poems will strike a chord in those who have experience with the illnesses and subtly educate those who have not. Throughout MacDonald maintains an edgy authenticity that will both horrify and inspire. From Princess Diana to the problem with baking and the tyranny of mirrors, Eating Matters brings new life to a topic often discussed but seldom understood. Part trauma travelogue, part self-analysis, part cultural critique, part healing journey, MacDonald addresses the hidden world of the binge/purge purgatory. You will share in her struggle and triumph.


"You know when you're reading a book and you’re thinking to yourself: why hasn't anybody written this yet and now here it is in front of you and you know what you've been missing? For me, Eating Matters is that kind of book. It's so unexpected, yet it feels so right. Kara-lee MacDonald has offered us this stylish collection of secrets that's incredibly smart and brave, visceral and terrifying and I couldn’t be more grateful. She's put the unspeakable into words and, in doing so, has drawn upon a reservoir of power that's as vast as hunger itself. I can't recommend it enough. I fucking love this book."

--Elizabeth Bachinsky

“Kara-lee MacDonald’s Eating Matters bites down to the marrow. Swallow or spit? What counts? How much? Where does it hurt? MacDonald’s lines cut clean to the aortic pump; a perfect silhouette. Her poems trace the lines of body and bile with sawblades. This is a book that interrogates the idea of the girl (with the most cake). At times bloody, but bloody necessary.”

— Nikki Reimer

Eating Matters undoes a complex. Words surpass exulansis, an individual approaches collective as poet, Kara-lee MacDonald, composes what was scattered. ‘at the end of the day/—theory fails as poetry thrives.’ The poet shines, honest, and reveals that even the wretch, the disembodied, every whit of shame, every shock of trauma can become something new. MacDonald teaches us about power—her power, and ours. We are comforted an implicated. Listening, reading, in the open, we confront a sick world that can be overcome. The sound thickens and ‘free’ shakes loose in defiance.”

— Cecily Nicholson

“It is a figurative and literal F-you to the aspects of our culture that lead women to mental illness. It is a standing up to the status quo of misogyny-drenched culture. It is powerful work MacDonald accomplishes, work that is reminiscent of poet and feminist Adrienne Rich…”

— Rob Budde, Northwood

Eating Matters leaves you feeling as if you have watched a dear friend conquer a storm, and, for those struggling with disordered eating, it can perhaps offer a way into oneself and out of the mire.”

— Keagan Perlette, Sad Mag