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Itself
Rae Armantrout



Wesleyan Poetry Series

Wesleyan
2015 • 112 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry


$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 http://raearmantrout.site.wesleyan.edu.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“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

“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

“Like a prolific musician, Armantrout produces many outwardly similar works, but none of them sound much like anyone else. … Her recent books reflect her continued interest in social critique, as well as her new attention to the natural sciences; in this one—which is perhaps among her best—computer science and math take the lead, allowing her to ask in what sense we are functions, rule-governed beings, or kinds of programs: “For us to consist/ of infinitesimal points// of want/ and not// makes a lot of sense.”Publishers Weekly, featured in PW Picks: Books of the Week



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.



Mon, 26 Sep 2016 12:05:22 -0500