Shopping Cart Link

Omnidawn Publishing

Sign up for our newsletter

Bookmark and Share
Cart link
Paperback add to cart

For Educators
View cart
Cover image Click for larger image

Elena Karina Byrne

2016 • 96 pp. 6 x 9"
Poetry - American / Poetry - Women Authors

$17.95 Paperback, 978-1-63243-022-9

“If flesh (or any worldly thing) could be made word, it would be by Pushcart Prize winner Byrne. “Beget-began with the rain in velvet swags,” she says of downpour... [continued in Reviews below]”—Library Journal

Dialogic juxtapositions of poetry and art’s vantage points

Squander occupies a place where “the mind’s upstairs windows [are] blown out”: a place of juxtapositional delight through sensory and conceptual dislocation. Poems based in word origins work as fables, and poems based in dialogue work within a select concordance from authors and artists. The consequent subject’s meaning is diverted and new vantage points are created. Squander’s energized music, its alliance with feeling’s final rhythm “makes us complicit” in the re-awaking of language.

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“If flesh (or any worldly thing) could be made word, it would be by Pushcart Prize winner Byrne. “Beget-began with the rain in velvet swags,” she says of downpour, while fire is “flame-hooded in city snow—/ who sulfurs, suffers for it.” And she makes ideas real and touchable, too: “Now/ consider the cement chair and know/ instead periphery” says the poem titled “Idea.” Byrne opens with a meditation on language (“because hunger once ate/ in a Feast of Lanterns, light caught in the mouth./ Babel: traders and navigators”), showing it at its protean finest, as her own poems are: sparkling, luminous, richly packed, and a real tumble into another state of mind. VERDICT From Shakespeare and stars to Rilke and lust, Byrne incarnates a wealth of subjects for smart, committed readers.”—Library Journal

“This collection is a wise love affair that both clings to mean and lets it go. At times it reads almost as an erasure or ellipsis; the poems hold on to meaning with one hand while the other works to set it free. THIS! This quality of loving and letting go makes the collection a ‘must read.’”—Nicelle Davis, Light House Full Self

If you are lucky enough to be bewitched by Elena Karina Byrne’s brilliant poems, then you will travel across time, space, and the ocean of language. In her beautiful new book, Squander, Byrne again douses the reader in her sparkle and luminosity, through poems triggered by Shakespeare, Amy Winehouse, Georgia O’Keefe, and Rilke. This is Byrne’s deepest exploration of language yet; there’s no one writing like her and her voice is an essential one in American poetry.”—Victoria Chang, author of The Boss

From the Book:


and some minx’s token
laid on our tongues, some civilization’s content so absolute

we can row a canoe seaward into its azured vault vocabulary,
salt backwards in minutes to
Name him, that what he gave us was more knowledge
overwhelmed by seeing us,
a violent sorrow
and this sorrow that I have by right
is yours, man and woman both

Empowered him out of nature

in some loneliness-allure crossing the face twice,
like the cuttlefish turning over its colors, like
blame due of blame,

that first lights on him, then us, following in
our bodies’ grammar, found

by our carnal stings or unbitten lusts

word over word, the ugly part of beauty
moved from the gut to resume the shape
of Cordelia in his arms,
unfinished storm-flower where the darkness folded up
and you asked yourself Will it eat me?

like the feeding earth- worm of conscience swallowed by its
own red sound seas incarnadine

Faith, half asleep in your arms, that
What you know, you know always

inward breaks

even before it is named, even before it benchmarks who you are.

ELENA KARINA BYRNE’S previous poetry books include The Flammable Bird and MASQUE. She is currently completing an essay collection: Voyeur Hour: Meditations on Poetry, Art and Desire. A Pushcart Prize winner, her publications include, Best American Poetry, Yale Review, Paris Review, APR, Poetry, Verse, Kenyon Review, Volt, TriQuarterly, Denver Quarterly. Former Regional Director of the Poetry Society of America, Elena Karina Byrne is Poetry Consultant for The Los Angeles Times Festival of Books, The Ruskin Art Club’s Literary Programs Director, and one of the final judges for the Kate/Kingsley Tufts Prizes in Poetry.

Mon, 18 Jun 2018 12:29:50 -0500