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Elizabeth Willis

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2011 • 80 pp. 6 x 8"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7348-3
$25.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7098-7

$12.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7099-4

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

New poems from an original and challenging American voice

Address draws us into visible and invisible architectures, into acts of intimate and public address. These poems are concentrated, polyvocal, and sharply attentive to acts of representation; they take personally their politics and in the process reveal something about the way civic structures inhabit the imagination. Poisonous plants, witches, anthems, bees—beneath their surface, we glimpse the fragility of our founding, republican aspirations and witness a disintegrating landscape artfully transformed. If a poem can serve as a kind of astrolabe, measuring distances both cosmic and immediate, temporal and physical, it does so by imaginative, nonlinear means. Here, past and present engage in acts of mutual interrogation and critique, and within this dynamic Willis’s poetry is at once complexly authoritative and searching: “so begins our legislation.”

Check for the online reader’s companion at

Check for the online reader’s companion at

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

From the Book:


I’m thinking of
the heat in the reins
a gear in love with itself
two parts that fit
I’m thinking about your face:
there’s nothing to invent
Driven to distraction
or just walking there
The edge of my mind
against the edge of yours
An astrolabe isn’t thinking
of a concrete lane
or unconquerable interior
Abiding by its class
and country church, a kitsch picture
is not “sincerity”
though I am native to it
A nation has this sound
of being born The human
is not its ill-begotten ad
A hemisphere is not your hair
in its Parisian rooms
An astrolabe is not
a metaphor for love
though love contain the mortal roots
of congress, like a peasant
inside the name you give its ruins


Winner of the Laurence L. & Thomas Winship / PEN New England Award (2012)

ELIZABETH WILLIS is the author of four previous books including Meteoric Flowers, Turneresque, and The Human Abstract. She is Shapiro-Silverberg Associate Professor of Creative Writing at Wesleyan University.

This project is supported in part by an award from
National Endowment for the Arts

Tue, 6 Dec 2016 14:03:37 -0500