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Robert Fernandez

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2016 • 88 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry / Poetry - Hispanic American

$24.95 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7650-7

$19.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7651-4

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

Fernandez imbues his dark third collection with omens, mortality panic, and a Rimbaud-esque frenzied bleakness, punctuating the work with moments of desperate hope. Packing poems with Gothic details that... [continued in Reviews below]”—Publishers Weekly

A lyric exploration of crisis, transformation, love, and recovery

Taking Dante and other catalogers of failure and ruin (Baudelaire, Trakl, Rimbaud) as its guiding lights, Scarecrow charts situations of extremity and madness: “Are you / insistent? Are you dead? / Are you guilty? Has your / name been lifted, a vein / of earth from earth?” It also charts the insistence of time’s passing and with it the awakening to both new and foreclosed possibilities. What will remain for us after the disaster? How will we rebuild? To whom will we address ourselves and with what voice? Also a love poem, one of desire and hope, Scarecrow aligns a tragic sensibility with a faith in the other and in the redemptive power of forgiveness. Within the beauty and strangeness of this work rests an imperative that captures the directive of poetry at its best: “Present yourself / in the full radiance of captivation.” In its mystery and defiance, Robert Fernandez’s collection does precisely this. An online reader’s companion will be available at

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Reviews / Endorsements

“Fernandez imbues his dark third collection with omens, mortality panic, and a Rimbaud-esque frenzied bleakness, punctuating the work with moments of desperate hope. Packing poems with Gothic details that produce a visceral reaction … Fernandez pivots between sinister and debauched revelry, ‘portents dissolving like fat’… His dexterity is best displayed in creating and sustaining a mood of ardent desperation heightened by reverent pleas for perseverance– continuing on ‘through the night,/through morning,/ again again again’.”Publishers Weekly

“All of this, really, should be a concrete argument in favor of becoming a reader of Robert Fernandez’s work. For his welcome complexity, his inescapable earnestness, and his felt sentiment. I find myself thinking of this book as an opportunity to further develop how or what would allow me to understand Robert Fernandez’s voice, as well as the voices of other poets who continue to hold a conversation with the world. And what a distinct pleasure it is to view into that world.”—Kent Shaw, Colorado Review

“Condensed in this refined language are expressions of unprecedented excess, rudeness, violence, and free thinking. The effect is a kind of gothic architecture, where the thing contained feels bigger than its container, and strains against it. If more poets wrote like Fernandez, we might be living in a golden age.”—Aaron Kunin, author of Cold Genius

“Robert Fernandez's incantatory poetry taps into the vatic hum of the earth. His Scarecrow, as human effigy, calls out the predicament of the self at the end of history. He speaks in the dialect of deep time.”—Andrew Joron, author of Trance Archive

Scarecrow finds and makes beauty in and out of precisely what is and nothing more: ‘May you spin / here, scarecrow, among / the other straw-like things / planted in the dark earth, / swollen with light and time.’ It is a book that does not adorn the human condition, but discovers and reveals the adornments fundamental to it.”Shane McCrae, author of Mule

From the Book:


I ask for the broken ladder to fill my head
for sunstroke, red horns of wheat
for dailiness, let me know particulars
O red horn brightened in my chest,
the hairs are countless, I ask
for lozenges like islands, and the color—
red yellow blue—staining the dark
I ask for daylight, forms noticed, held, cut
down from shadow and trembling, held
for the moon’s horn filled with red honey
and for the chance of day, a gamble with red chips

The time is taken, culled, like
fruit the time has darkened, blue,
seven panes of glass crushed into the roots
the time is deadly, a coral snake
and we adorn we adorn

ROBERT FERNANDEZ is the author of We Are Pharaoh and Pink Reef and the cotranslator of Azure: Poems Stéphane Mallarmé. He has won a Gertrude Stein Award for Innovative Poetry and a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. He lives in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Click here for author's website.

Fri, 9 Nov 2018 09:36:02 -0500