Shopping Cart Link

Wesleyan University Press

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Hardcover add to cart

For Educators
View cart
Add exam ebook
Cover image Click for larger image

Rae Armantrout

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2015 • 112 pp. 6 x 9"

$24.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7467-1

$19.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7468-8

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“No poet gets caustic, or self-critical, or sarcastic, as well as Armantrout, whose quick stanzas—half Twitter, hald Emily Dickinson—say a lot about how language, money, love, and memory can fail us, and in very little space.”—Publishers Weekly

Deft and audacious new poems from the Pulitzer Prize–winning poet

What do “self” and “it” have in common? In Rae Armantrout’s new poems, there is no inert substance. Self and it (word and particle) are ritual and rigmarole, song-and-dance and long distance call into whatever dark matter might exist. How could a self not be selfish? Armantrout accesses the strangeness of everyday occurrence with wit, sensuality, and an eye alert to underlying trauma, as in the poem "Price Points" where a man conducts an imaginary orchestra but "gets no points for originality." In their investigations of the cosmically mundane, Armantrout’s poems use an extraordinary microscopic lens—even when she’s glancing backwards from the outer reaches of space. An online reader’s companion is available at

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements:

“The fact that she is able to resemble others and yet sound like only herself is no small achievement. . . . She is a poet who in the short lines of her brief fragmented verse has given us a lot of possibilities, all of them charged with language that aims to contain multitudes”—Ilya Kaminsky, Boston Review

“The technique of construction by which she prefers to give wholeness to poems is to isolate a word, a bit of jargon or cliché, and move it further and further outside of its expected usage. The multiple appearances of this ordinary word run a thread through several discrete episodes. You often don't notice the thread until she pulls it taut, at which point it becomes a spine. . . . This effect is characteristic and unique. It can take any content. It can even take any tone. It can be teasing, curious, threatening, knowing, sarcastic, paranoid, proud, gentle. The feeling it names, however, is consistent. Not ecstatic or epiphanic, but something more like what Archimedes meant when he shouted, Eureka!”—Aaron Kunin, Lana Turner

“The powers of brevity, observation, and sarcastic wit that took Armantrout from 1970s avant-gardist to widely imitated—and Pulitzer Prize-winning—authority are back, and as sharp as ever.”Publishers Weekly

From the Book:


I work it
until sweetness

of itself,

then arcs across,
unfurling petals,

and is gone.


On television hundreds
of albino crabs
over one steam vent.


I know you’re dreaming
things I haven’t dreamed,

wouldn’t. But that’s part
of your costume

like your extra

RAE ARMANTROUT is the author of eleven previous books of poetry, including Just Saying, Money Shot, and Versed, winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award. She is a professor of writing and literature at the University of California, San Diego. This is her twelfth book.

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

Tue, 16 Aug 2016 10:55:53 -0500