In Ten Bridges I’ve Burnt, Brontez Purnell – the bard of the underloved and overlooked – turns his gaze inward. A storyteller with a musical eye for the absurdity of his own existence, he is peerless in his ability to find the levity within the stormiest of crises. Here, in his first collection of genre-defying verse, Purnell reflects on his peripatetic life, whose ups and downs have nothing on the turmoil within.
‘The most high-risk homosexual behavior I engage in,’ Purnell writes, ‘is simply existing.’ The thirty-eight autobiographical pieces pulsing in Ten Bridges Ive Burnt find Purnell at his no-holds-barred best. He remembers a vicious brawl he participated in at a poetry conference and reckons with packaging his trauma for TV writers’ rooms; wrestles with the curses, and gifts, passed down from generations of family members; and chronicles, with breathless verve, a list of hell-raising misadventures and sexcapades. Through it all, he muses on everything from love and loneliness to capitalism and Blackness to jogging and the ethics of art, always with unpredictable clarity and movement.
With the same balance of wit and wisdom that made 100 Boyfriends a sensation, Purnell unleashes another collection of boundary-pushing writing with Ten Bridges Ive Burnt, a book as original and thrilling as the author himself.