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New and Selected Poems, 2001–2015
Rae Armantrout

Wesleyan Poetry Series

2016 • 252 pp. 6 x 9"

$19.95 Paperback, 978-0-8195-7773-3
$28.00 Hardcover, 978-0-8195-7655-2

$15.99 Ebook, 978-0-8195-7656-9

Check your ebook retailer or local library for ebook availability.

“These potent, compact meditations on our complicated times reveal Armantrout’s observant sensibility, lively intellect, and emotional complexity. Including some of her most brilliant pieces, this generous volume affirms Armantrout’s reputation as one of our sharpest and most innovative writers.”—Publishers Weekly

New and selected poetry from Pulitzer prize-winning author Rae Armantrout

Rae Armantrout’s poetry comprises one of the most refined and visionary bodies of work written over the last forty years. These potent, compact meditations on our complicated times reveal her observant sensibility, lively intellect, and emotional complexity. This generous volume charts the evolution of Armantrout’s mature, stylistically distinct work. In addition to 25 new poems, there are selections from her books Up To Speed, Next Life, the Pulitzer Prize and National Book Critics Circle Award winning volume Versed, Money Shot, Just Saying, and Itself. Including some of her most brilliant pieces, Partly affirms Armantrout’s reputation as one of our sharpest and most innovative writers.

An online reader’s companion is available at

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Armantrout “Remind[s] us that we see only what we have learned to see, what our lives and our societies will let us see, that there is no unmediated nature … It would be absurd to depict Armantrout without depicting her pessimism, even cynicism, but it would be seriously misleading to say that she gives up on expression, or novelty, or sympathy, or even lyric.”—Stephen Burt, London Review of Books

“These are poems of uncanny freshness and grace with every word a precise and necessary component of the whole. With these poems Armantrout easily demonstrates that she possesses one of the keenest minds of our time.”—Sonja James, The Journal

“Rae Armantrout is back in town … Words are equipment, disassembled and reconstructed to not only make meaning but show process of meaning. Call it modernism, postmodernism, constructivism, avant-garde, or a mix. What we encounter are minimalistic, fragmentary structures that make the whole by breaking the whole … Armantrout is funny, witty, wise and philosophical. The book is a selfie of the mind’s kaleidoscope’ poetics and diction don’t obscure story and sharp social commentary.”—Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books

“Armantrout seizes the overweening falseness of our culture as a creative opportunity.”—Vidyan Ravinthiran,

“For nearly 40 years [Armantrout] has made a poetics of not finding the right words–of finding, in fact, the ‘wrong’ ones … Armantrout restores the strangeness of experiences we take for granted.”—Michael Robbins,
Chicago Tribune

“[W]hat marks this enthralling collection is the clarity of thought regarding thoughts that are constitutionally unclear … Armantrout walks us over to what usually cannot be said and finds a way to say it … [She] helps us spend time with the idea of the reality of a thing being its movement rather than its substance.”—
American Poet

“Hoopskirts, star jasmine, synchronized swimming, Russian icons, a ceramic fish face, electrons and photons: in these poems, everything is interconnected, thought through, deeply felt and expressed in the most precise and necessary words. Rae Armantrout is one of our most inventive and magnetic poets, and she never disappoints: with inspired patience, she embraces the strangeness of our familiar world and refashions it into something new and utterly transporting.”—Lydia Davis, author of Can't and Won't

“If you missed any of the collections from Rae Armantrout’s prolific second period, which spans illness, the financial crash, and a fervent and witty engagement with science, this book’s a gift to you: a fat batch of poems, selected and new. In the brave and brilliant new poems, Armantrout slyly questions her own life’s work in poetry, her “40 years/of turning experience into topiary.” But this “topiary” will stand. Armantrout’s poems are funny, politically sharp, feminist, anecdotal, and wise. You’ll read them in a sitting (she’s terse) and for the rest of your life. Armantrout tries to feel the edges of what can be said, saying it one way, then another, to see whether it is the same it, to never quite catch it "just saying" itself. What would we do without Rae Armantrout, who slants the said so we see how we don’t know?” —Cathy Wagner, author of Nervous Device

“Rae Armantrout finds extraordinary poetry in the ways we make sense of the world. She tracks the insights, struggles and false steps by which reasoning connects what we see with our own eyes to the images that tumble from films, television and the internet. Her exploration of the ecology of ideas has also made her one of our finest poets of science. What on earth are these golden new ideas of quantum computing or dark matter that the physicists are talking about? Armantrout insists on biting the gold, and introduces even the most cosmological ideas to her own neighborhood. She discovers that the two cultures of science and the arts can touch down on the same sites of contemporary life.”—Peter Middleton, author of Physics Envy: American Poetry and Science in the Cold War and After

From the Book:


If a fat man
with one ear lobe distended
by a large ring

and a thin man
in a heavy neck chain

sit together
checking email

The real is made up
of things minus

near eucalyptus strands
of green crescents

and their shadows - flighty

while the soul
is made up
of appearance
minus things

Author Photo

RAE ARMANTROUT is professor emerita of writing at the University of California, San Diego, and the author of thirteen previous books of poetry.

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

Thu, 6 Sep 2018 11:44:03 -0500