Winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry. Seuss's poems grow out of the fertile soil of southwest Michigan, bursting any and all stereotypes of the Midwest and turning loose characters worthy of Faulkner in their obsession, their suffering, their dramas of love and sex and death.
wolf lake white gown blown open
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"Diane Seuss writes with the intensity of a soothsayer." —Laura Kasischke For, having imagined your body one way I found it to be another way, it was yielding, but only as the Destroying Angel mushroom yields, its softness allied with its poison, and your legs were not petals or tendrils as I'd believed, but brazen, the deviant tentacles beneath the underskirt of a secret queen —from "Oh four-legged girl, it's either you or the ossuary" In Diane Seuss's Four-Legged Girl, her audacious, hothouse language swerves into pain and rapture, as she recounts a life lived at the edges of containment. Ghostly, sexy, and plaintive, these poems skip to the tune of a jump rope, fill a wishing well with desire and other trinkets, and they remember past lush lives in New York City, in rural Michigan, and in love. In the final poem, she sings of the four-legged girl, the body made strange to itself and to others. This collection establishes Seuss's poetic voice, as rich and emotional as any in contemporary poetry.
Finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award Finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize Diane Seuss’s brilliant follow-up to Four-Legged Girl, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry Still life with stack of bills phone cord cig butt and freezer-burned Dreamsicle Still life with Easter Bunny twenty caged minks and rusty meat grinder Still life with whiskey wooden leg two potpies and a dead parakeet Still life with pork rinds pickled peppers and the Book of Revelation Still life with feeding tube oxygen half-eaten raspberry Zinger Still life with convenience store pecking order shotgun blast to the face —from “American Still Lives” Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl takes its title from Rembrandt’s painting, a dark emblem of femininity, violence, and the viewer’s own troubled gaze. In Diane Seuss’s new collection, the notion of the still life is shattered and Rembrandt’s painting is presented across the book in pieces—details that hide more than they reveal until they’re assembled into a whole. With invention and irreverence, these poems escape gilded frames and overturn traditional representations of gender, class, and luxury. Instead, Seuss invites in the alienated, the washed-up, the ugly, and the freakish—the overlooked many of us who might more often stand in a Walmart parking lot than before the canvases of Pollock, O’Keeffe, and Rothko. Rendered with precision and profound empathy, this extraordinary gallery of lives in shards shows us that “our memories are local, acute, and unrelenting.”
Featuring an introduction by a National Book Award-winning writer and a foreword by the award-winning Best American Poetry series editor, a latest annual anthology complements top-selected American poems of the year with poet notes about their creative processes.
With these dark, triumphant poems Diane Seuss-Brakeman takes us on a journey through the landscape of the soul -- and it is a world full of beauty and violence in equal parts. Relentless and incantatory, these poems confront whatever it is that guides us in a life that is sensuous, yet exacting in its terrible cost. As the poet looks for God's presence in the book's erotically charged universe, the quest itself becomes a victory of perfectly pitched and furious language. It Blows You Hollow is a book that feels as if it had to be written.
Ever marry the wrong man? There's a fury loose in these poems, seething, a woman trapped: "blinds shut, the world and all its space, denied." Like her presiding spirit, Persephone, Rivara brings eloquent life to that dead zone, auguring eventual escape, with a musician's schooled and pitch-perfect ear, a sensual feel and exact eye for nature, language honed to the finest edge: "lakes's raw lace-edge, cuttooth moon, loons/knife beneath foam: spring, unsheathing." ~ Eleanor Wilner The poems in Sara Quinn Rivara's Lake Effect enact a high-stakes "beautiful mess" of a life. The Michigan she conjures is a site of myth renewed by the deeply-witnessed world, where logs are "blistered with frogs" and "the grasses undo from the sky's blue loom." Her lines are Whitman-wide, her ferocity Plathian in the dizzying blade of its diction: "Your body...befuddles the thrush, baffles the moon. Is a sugar-tit of reassurance." The lush beauty and opulent music of Rivara's lines serves the subversive intent of all great poetry-to recoup one's life from the forces of erasure, so that "what I hold in my hands I own." ~ Diane Seuss, author of Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open, Winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry
"In Margaret Fedder's Angel Rides a Bike, the poems hold a mysterious tension between tenderness and ferocity, spareness and a furtive lushness. Despite their relative brevity, Fedder's poems build a palpable world. There are implications of story, of Catholicism, of family, of place, but the common denominator, and overarching force, is the voice itself-attentive to beauty and to strangeness, and hungry for experience. This collection bespeaks a lyric coming-of-age and a rare instinct for wonder." -Diane Seuss, finalist for the Pulitzer Prize, and author of Wolf Lake, White Gown Blown Open; Four-Legged Girl; and Still Life with Two Dead Peacocks and a Girl