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Anxious Music
April Ossmann

Four Way
2007 • 42 pp. 6 x 9"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-884800-81-8

“These poems exhibit a quiet, considered intelligence rare in first collections. Recommended.” Ellen Kaufman, Library Journal

A first book of poems that enact a great joy and trust in language, building a deliciously slippery vessel to carry us through the deep waters of our humanity, by the Executive Director of Alice James Books.

Easy to read-page-to-page, the poems of Anxious Music are both meditative and emotionally complex in their reach. Ossmann has the ability to describe surroundings and situations without becoming a reporter.
Maine poet Laureate Betsy Scholl writes: “In Anxious Music, language is alive—real as rain, fresh as fire, fluid and shifting as any river running over rapids and into pools. There is a fine, intelligent unease as April Ossmann turns her quick and graceful mind to the paradoxes and rich ambiguities of contemporary life. She is a poet with a clear eye for detail, a fine wit capable of negotiating between earnest desire and self-teasing...”

The natural world here is richly depicted in its varying landscapes and currents. The world of human relationships is keenly observed as it approaches and avoids love's postmodern complexities. But mostly this is a book of poems that enact a great joy and trust in language, building a deliciously slippery vessel to carry us through the deep waters of our humanity. Anxious Music is a first book of stunning accomplishment.”

Reviews / Endorsements

“This book concerns itself with…how to contain or embrace or release desire. Ossmann’s best poems have this quality of controlled panic, an intelligence able to articulate and tolerate alarming paradox.”
Rebecca Kaiser Gibson, Pleiades

“It is unusual for me to warm so swiftly to a collection of poetry as I did to this debut publication by April Ossmann.” Alan West

The free verse of Ossmann's debut moves through its erotic confessions, New England walks and household memories, in a voice remarkable for its confidence and fierceness: "I am the woman you should have married," one poem concludes, "offering you another chance," a "slick kiss landing firmly on your lips."Ossmann can also tone things down enough to present simple domestic details: "late and missed meals, Swiss chocolate, English tea and jam." Such items hold places, or mark chapters, in the lives these articulate, welcoming poems describe: a "red glove in the road/ this morning" recalls good fortune in havingexperienced only "minor loss," while the shapes of the trees in Maine, "the 'V'/ in my satin green pajamas," a bass-guitar riff on the radio, "my first bikini brought to light" in a drawer, may all invoke romantic ups and down—breakups, liaisons, vacations and further breakups, some apparently with the same man. The fluent results make Ossmann at once an easy-to-like nature poet and a chronicler of risqué moments.—Stride Magazine, Publishers Weekly

Author Photo

APRIL OSSMANN has published her poetry widely in journals including Colorado Review and Harvard Review, and in anthologies including From the Fishouse, and won the 2000 Prairie Schooner Readers’ Choice Award. She is a publishing, writing and editing consultant (, and teaches poetry at The Writer’s Center in White River Junction, VT. She has also taught at Lebanon College and the University of Maine at Farmington and was executive director of Alice James Books from 2000 - 2008. She lives in Post Mills, VT.

Sun, 12 Aug 2018 13:23:25 -0500