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Next Life
Rae Armantrout

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2007 • 88 pp. 6 x 9"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-6821-2

"Armantrout... has been writing... poems for 30 years, at first for a West Coast cult following, now for what should be a national audience... [These] poems give... the invention, the wit and the force of a mind that contests all assumptions as much as it can."—New York Times Book Review

Forward-looking poetry that pushes the limits of knowledge

In her latest collection, Rae Armantrout considers the shaping effects of language in the context of new and frightening global realities. Attempting to imagine the unimaginable and see the unseen, Armantrout evokes a “next life” beyond the current, and too often degraded, one. From the new physics to mortality, Armantrout engages with the half-seen and the half-believed. These poems step into the dance of consciousness and its perennial ghost partner—“to make the world up/of provisional pairs.” At a time when our world is being progressively despoiled, Armantrout has emerged as one of our most important and articulate authors. These poems push against the limit of knowledge, that event-horizon, and into the echoes and phantasms beyond, calling us to look toward the “next life” and find it where we can.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

"Once associated with the controversial, difficult 1970s and '80s group called Language Poets, Armantrout has more recently emerged into sustained critical acclaim: this ninth book should see a breakthrough into wider attention... Now that American popular culture accommodates so much disjunction, self-reference and irony, this could be the year when more readers discover Armantrout, too."—Publishers Weekly, starred review

"These poems are bravely self-conscious, as much about the writing process as the end result. This volume examines and questions the components of poetry, and appropriate maneuver for a poet hailed as one of the pioneers of Language poetry... Two of Armantrout's previous books of poetry were finalists for the PEN USA Award in Poetry. Her work has also appeared in numerous anthologies. She is a role model for future poetry rebels, insisting that poetry as an art form is as alive as ever."—Foreword

“Armantrout's lines...should be read out loud, so that the dissonance that is her genius can make its meaning heard.”—Library Journal

“These poems work as fiercely intelligent fragments of light, splinters of the highly polished mirror we call language. A truly philosophical poetry, playfully and painfully breaking the bland, received world into a field of brilliant and convincing shards.”—David Antin, author of i never knew what time it was

“Science and faith, mixed with an unusually solid take on popular culture, give these poems an uncanny insight into daily life. Both compassionate and relentlessly honest, Armantrout’s work adds a window to the world; things are brighter for it, and easier to read.”—Cole Swensen, Iowa Writers’ Workshop

From the Book:

We wake up to an empty room
addressing itself in scare quotes.

“Happen” and “now”
have been smuggled out,

to arrive safely in the past tense.

We come home to a cat
made entirely of fish.
—from “Reversible”

Author Photo

RAE ARMANTROUT is a professor of writing in the literature department at the University of California at San Diego, and the author of eight books of poetry, including Up to Speed (2003) and Veil: New and Selected Poems (2001).

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

Fri, 6 Jul 2018 13:13:47 -0500