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Money Shot
Rae Armantrout

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2011 • 92 pp. 5 1/2 x 8 3/4"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7314-8
$24.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7130-4

$12.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7131-1

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

"Her follow up to Versed, the prize-winning volume, is due out from Wesleyan University Press in February, and it's a stunner."—Craig Teicher, Publishers Weekly

Pulitzer Prize–winning poet searches for new ways to understand the world in the wake of the Great Recession

The poems in Money Shot are forensic. Just as the money shot in porn is proof of the male orgasm, these poems explore questions of revelation and concealment. What is seen, what is hidden, and how do we know? Money Shot’s investigation of these questions takes on a particular urgency because it occurs in the context of the suddenly revealed market manipulation and subsequent “great recession” of 2008–2009. In these poems, Rae Armantrout searches for new ways to organize information. What can be made manifest? What constitutes proof? Do we “know it when we see it”? Looking at sex, botany, cosmology, and death through the dark lens of “disaster capitalism,” Armantrout finds evidence of betrayal, grounds for rebellion, moments of possibility, and even pleasure, in a time of sudden scarcity and relentless greed. This stunning follow-up to Versed—winner of the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Critics Circle Award, and a finalist for the National Book Award—is a wonderfully stringent exploration of how deeply our experience of everyday life is embedded in capitalism.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

"Working from a minimalist position, Armantrout has the ability to magnify the merest of words into an essay. True to the postmodern tradition, she gives no answer to the provocative questions she raises. Instead Money Shot offers sure proof of one thing: A well-wrought book of poems."—John Herbert Cunningham, Rain Taxi

"Armantrout's work is distinguished by, among other things, a sense of economy and elegant precision."David Wheatley, Times Literary Supplement

“…there are a lot of possibilities. Which is exciting, and frightening…Indeed, the charged openness of language is itself enough to power these poems. What makes Money Shot such a success is Armantrout’s ability to distill this linguistic energy without compromising the ability of these poems to make lucid associative connections…Let’s play a game, Armantrout seems to say. This game has to do with language, and either it will destroy us or leave us alone on a sunny day. Take your pick.”Nick Sturm, Laurel Review

"Even when she declares intellectualism, Armantrout gives us a strained, strange emotionalism; even as she alienates us, she suggests we are all—like the wheels of a tandem bicycle—spinning in sympathy nonetheless."Abigail Deutsch, Poetry magazine

underlying peacefulness of contemplation: ‘It’s well/ that things should stir/ inconsequentially/ around me.’ Money Shot (Wesleyan) is a fine follow-up to Armantrout’s Pulitzer Prize-winning Versed.”Jane Henderson, St. Louis Times Dispatch

“Rae Armantrout’s ‘Soft Money,’ from Money Shot, transplants the language of sexual desire into the context of the current economic meltdown.”—Tracy K. Smith,

“Armantrout shows what a person with open eyes and open ears can contribute by organizing artifice and showing it for what it is - all the while maintaining a cleverness, intellectual authority and readability that make her one of the best page-poets in the world.”John Denning, Coldfront

“Armantrout is continually calling into question the language she uses, and these choices are always elegant and amazingly intelligent, but there is genuine emotion in these poems.”Nick Sturm, The Volta

“In a world of real justice, all speech would be sifted in Rae Armantrout’s gold pan. In what may be her best book yet, the poems of Money Shot sort our sorry tropes and reveal the fool’s gold with which we’ve smitten ourselves once again.”Susan Wheeler, author of Ledger and Assorted Poems

“The breathtaking economy of these deftly crafted poems yields high dividends indeed. This is the real thing, no doubt about it….”Peter Nicholls, author of George Oppen and the Fate of Modernism

From the Book:


The old

is newly cloaked
in purpose.

There’s a jumble
of hair and teeth

under the bedclothes
in the forest.

“The better to eat you with,”
it says

and nibbles us
until we laugh.


An ax-man
comes to help.


“To, To,”
birds cheep

to greet
whatever has come up.

“To, To”

RAE ARMANTROUT is a professor of writing in the literature department at the University of California at San Diego, and the author of ten books of poetry.

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

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 11:59:15 -0500