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"Winner of the 2010 Colorado Prize, this sophomore collection from Savich (Full Catastrophe Living) features poems that communicate what is fragmentary at the expense of the concrete. At once meticulous and vertiginous, these poems are grounded by "The Mountains Overhead," a long poem of 113 fragments, in which we find "Dawn stripping you like a cat/ clawing a band of wallpaper" and horses that "hold themselves like torches so they/ won't burn like themselves." The result is a collection that is thrilling and inchoate. "A Children's Story" is Savich at his best, blending enjambment and narrative to create a poem in which the speaker's distance from the memory of a former love ("the white/ in her teeth and eyes moved him like childhood/ loss") is realized with melancholy. In keeping with the trope of annulments, the poems often end suddenly, leaving much to be desired in their genesis and construction. One senses that Savich could go on building his fragmentary mountain forever, not unlike a certain well-known biblical tower whose result was the fragmentation of language itself, all the while longing for a "heart which exists/ in which to continue is not/ to confine." (Nov.) " —Danniel Schoonebeek , Publishers Weekly
"It is the poet who, undistracted by the imbecile telegraphy of this moment, dares to sustain a sustaining sound I most esteem and most warmly embrace. Zach Savich has written a book both intimate and vast, both tender and acidly candid. And with his long poem, 'The Mountains Overhead,' he has entered that visionary company of poets who, by overturning Babel, lay the heavens at our feet."—Donald Revell
"Sparse, spare, these lines nonetheless overflow with a sheer and brilliant imagination- 'The crows: hearing our voices through wires'; 'the horses hold themselves like torches'; 'the sun a dial tone . . .' The tension between minimalism of form and maximalism of concept and feeling gives this work a vivid, oddly crystalline, momentum. The central long poem unfolds one small leaf at a time, yet resists accumulation; instead it presents us again and again with the opportunity to immerse ourselves in the slightly uncanny: what would it be to sing instead of to say? This book gives us an intimation."—Cole Swensen
“When you open this book, expect serious role-playing and syntactic tap dancing. The City She Was presents a world that brings ‘the horizon line into your lexicon’ and a poet’s muse (‘The Endangered You’) is lent to a friend and returned ‘a little more frayed.’ Giménez Smith muddles and enchants with her many masks, leaving the ground a little less stable under our feet.” —Matthea Harvey, author of Modern Life, Sad Little Breathing Machine, and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form
“The human body has only five senses but The City She Was reroutes the architecture of experience so effectively that the reader is awarded a new unnamed sense, a soft power, one that reprioritizes our outdated reality with the gathering infrastructure of the geography of language. The whole aggressive world is this book’s only enemy, and no one tricks absurdity into form, reality into abstraction, injustice into stylized verdict, and contemporary popular culture into a useful, heroic trap of surreal-her-wholeness like Carmen Giménez Smith.”—Thomas Sayers Ellis, author of Skin, Inc. and The Maverick Room
Vol. 40 (2013) through current issue
Launched in 1956, Colorado Review is a triquarterly literary journal published at Colorado State University. Each approximately 200-page issue features short fiction, creative nonfiction, book reviews, and poetry. Work first published in Colorado Review has been reprinted or noted in Best American Poetry, Best American Essays, Best American Short Stories, Best New American Voices, Best American Nonrequired Reading, Best Travel Writing, Best Food Writing, and Pushcart Prize.
Winner of the 2012 Colorado Prize for Poetry, selected by Elizabeth Willis
“Family System is one of the most specific and clarifying books of poetry I’ve ever read. It is filled with choices—made, to be made, not made—handled with a poetic understanding that what seems arbitrary will be inevitable when said with the right words while singing the right songs. This is a stand-out first book, introducing a first-rate original talent, doing powerful work, making quintessentially lyrical choices. Don’t miss this book.”
“It seems that Jack Christian’s brain is able to produce tiny lucid creatures, have them run and sprinkle over a map of an unknown world with joy, speed and delight. Even stranger, he’s somehow the spiritual offspring of very different ancestors: Pascal’s Esprit de geometrie and Scandinavian mythology. ‘I was eulogizing a squirrel in a shoebox.’ Brilliant.”
With intimacy and depth of insight, Henrietta Goodman’s Hungry Moon suggests paradox as the most basic mode of knowing ourselves and the world. We need hunger, the poems argue, but also satisfaction. We need pain to know joy, joy to know pain. We need to protect ourselves, but also to take risks. Though the poems are drawn from personal experience, Goodman shares the conviction of such poets as Anne Sexton and Louise Glück that when the poet writes of the self, the self cannot be exempt from culpability. Goodman’s speaker ranges through time and locale—from exploring the experience of flying in a small plane with her lover/pilot over the landscape of the American West to addressing the grief and retrospective self-scrutiny that arise from a friend’s death. Like the work of Mark Doty and Tony Hoagland, Goodman’s poems embrace concrete particularity, entangled as it is with imperfection and loss: “the Quik Stop’s fridge full of sandwiches and small bottles of livestock vaccines,” “the black, hammer-struck moon of your thumb,” “the empty water tower, one rusted panel kicked in like a door.”
Opening the space between the ordinary and the visionary, the poems in A Lamp Brighter than Foxfire uncover an intimate relationship with the world, from Las Vegas to Italy to the American Midwest. From a lime glowing in an orchard to a miraculous childhood attempt at levitation, Andrew S. Nicholson’s poems ground themselves in the commonplace and leap for the luminous. Central to this collection are poems that retell stories of Jacob from the Old Testament, relocated behind casinos, glimpsed in miniature on kitchen floors, and heard speaking in a moment of decay. Through these retellings, Nicholson examines the creation of self, family relationships, and a generative sense of the divine.
Winner of the 2009 Colorado Prize for Poetry
"Schlegel's debut, winner of the 2009 Colorado Prize for Poetry, presents a stark, haunted landscape, as expansive as it is lonesome and yet quietly inviting. It's a world where the mind projects its solitude onto nature while nature returns the favor. 'Here and not here,' says Schlegel, 'I breath away/ the parts of myself I no longer require. /A lost lover knits with the natural world after death (Tonight, her name is a leaf covering/ my left eye. The right I close/ for the wind to stitch shut with thread/ from the dress she wore into the grave/ where the determined roots of the tree/ are making a braid around her body);/ elsewhere another lover is able to /fill the bath with everything that has/ Or could ever happen between us,/ imbuing everyday domestic tasks like bathing with symbolic portent in language both straightforward and seductive. A series of haiku-like /November Deaths ekes out little truths (/But for the tip of land/ At which the vessel is aimed/ There is nothing to steady its course/) and another series of Lives asks, in various ways, /Toward what am I drawn?/ Answers are everywhere in this promising first book."—Publisher's Weekly