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Monkeys, Minor Planet, Average Star
Gracie Leavitt

2014 • 102 pp. 8 x 6"
Poetry / Poetry - American

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-937658-16-8

“Leavitt’s poems attune the reader to the frame of their viewership. Her “long distance thinking” informs a poetics simultaneously devoted to engaging and subverting meaning... [continued in Reviews below]”—Davy Knittle, Iowa Review

A playful, intoxicating debut by a young poet dedicated to expanding the boundaries of lyric poetry

Monkeys, Minor Planet, Average Star, Gracie Leavitt's first full-length collection, draws on rich lyric history, the love poem as prism, in an effort to create a postmodern pastoral. Leavitt's lines—a baroque tracery, sometimes dark, teasing prose, and pronoun-packed—and unstoppable syntax define her unique poetic vision. This idyll, with its bucolic scenery, its domestic scale, its erotic charge, charges forward into an ecofeminist future.

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Reviews / Endorsements

“Leavitt’s poems attune the reader to the frame of their viewership. Her “long distance thinking” informs a poetics simultaneously devoted to engaging and subverting meaning. The first and third sections of the book, entitled “Gap Gardening” I and II respectively, employ Rosmarie Waldrop’s concept of “gap gardening,” a mode of writing that cultivates discontinuity by bringing the gap offered by the margins of a poem into its body.”—Davy Knittle, Iowa Review

“Her heart has a huge vocabulary. The erotic frictions and syntactic torsions that make her work so exciting on the surface never linger in the abstract but always come close, close, inviting us into the play of feeling and, above all, the play of play.”—Robert Kelly

“Does language crown our species as the sapiens sapientissimus, the heaviest of the heavies on Planet Bad, or is language the bleat thing the brain does, pushing out syntax like ferns’ spindles, phonemes like innocent spoor? Gracie Leavitt’s book is brainy, hectic and, in its immediacy, erotic, lit up by a double, contradictory desire: to enter, through language, the absolute math of the natural world; and to position language as a kind of vibrating membrane delimiting the more sinister domain of the human.”—Joyelle McSweeney

The maximalist, contrapuntal, ecstatic, analytic, elastic, tender, and hard-won poems in Monkeys, Minor Planet, Average Star are unlike any I’ve read. They employ an infinitely large vocabulary, one that points back to poetry and out to the world, back to poems themselves and out to experience itself, using and abusing the language of logic along the way. They take in influences, mentors, and friends. Their cumulative effect is like watching Jonas McKas’ Walden while listening to a recording of R. Buckminster Fuller, whose tales and propositions weave through the book’s foundation like radiant heat. ‘We find that the spoken word, which took a minimum of two humans to develop, was the first industrial tool,’ Fuller wrote. Leavitt has built us a book of kaleidoscopic possibility and fellowship, i.e., words. Speak them out loud.”—Anna Moschovakis

GRACIE LEAVITT was born in Massachusetts, grew up in Maine, and currently resides in Brooklyn. She was a finalist for a 2012 Ruth Lilly Poetry Fellowship and her recent work has appeared in Conjunctions, Lana Turner, LIT, The Recluse, and Sentence.

Sun, 17 Dec 2017 14:25:39 -0500