A precocious debut that brims with inquisitive energy and sharp insight, overrun by wild boars is a search for intimacy and strength in the face of persecution and trauma. Unpacking interconnecting legacies of colonial exploitation, capitalist extraction and genocide, it is moderated through Maia’s stunningly intricate family history that embraces multiple faiths and languages, as well as Polish and Mexican mythologies and histories. Themes of painting, architecture and collective memory help trace a journey of resilience that runs from ancient Rome via medieval Cairo, Poland in the 30s and Berlin in the 90s, to modern London and the streets of Mexico City. Formally daring and subversively inventive with language, overrun by wild boars sifts through the wreckage of history and attempts to grasp what is precious, what is worth clinging on to, what it means to survive.
“Maia Elsner’s overrun by wild boars is a tour de force of intelligence, passion, pain, memory and language. Her virtuosic use of received form as counterpoint to organic flow, lies at the heart of both the feeling and the intelligence. There are several histories and languages encompassed here, both human and creaturely, all pressing on the other to present us with a world as complex as our interdependence.” – George Szirtes;
“overrun by wild boars is a wonderful book. These are elegantly subversive poems from a poet who is both formally inventive and has a keen perception attuned to the world around her. These poems travel from the body to landscape and grasp closeness in another language and all it seems effortless in her hands.” – Mona Arshi;
“In overrun by wild boars Maia Elsner has created a work of wholly original fusion, moving readers through both locality and time. These poems read as complex, probing networks, charting and inverting the symbiosis between one world and the next. Bursting with imagery, argument, attention and balance, the poems in this collection are the kind you take with you into your life.” – Anthony Anaxagorou