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9780819579041
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Atopia

Tallahassee. Tallahassee. Tallahassee.
Your mist today is incredible
as it settles on this rose garden!
When the largest rose shook off its dew
and looked at me like a cartoon, I smiled back
and promised not to break his neck.
And here we are together again, walking in a park
that honors dead children. A tree planted for each child
on such a mild day in December. And how the dead
children stream through me, scrolls of them:

Lily! Rose! Bobby!

Kierkegaard says anyone who follows through
on an idea becomes unpopular. And also
that a person needs a system, otherwise you
become mere personality. He must not have
known very many poets, so prone to tyrannical
shifts in mood. Change in the weather is equal to
don't let me go crazy. In the car on the way
to school Charlotte says, "I like to be gentle
with nature because I like nature."

But my mind wouldn't rest, system-less,
as I drive through dread:

Lily! Rose! Bobby!

You're dead, you're dead.

Atopia grapples with the political climate of the United States manifested through our everyday lives. Sandra Simonds charts the formations and deformations of the social and political through the observations of the poem's speakers, interspersed with the language of social media, news reports, political speech, and the dialogue of friends, children, strangers, and politicians. The Los Angeles Review of Books characterized Simonds's work as "robust, energetic, fanciful, even baroque" and "a necessary counterforce to the structures of gender, power, and labor that impinge upon contemporary life." These poems reflect on what it means to be human, what it means to build communities within a political structure it also opposes.

About the Author

SANDRA SIMONDS is the author of six books of poetry, most recently Orlando. Her poems have been included in the Best American Poetry 2015 and 2014 and have appeared in the New York Times, Poetry, the American Poetry Review, the Chicago Review, Granta, Boston Review, Ploughshares, Fence, Court Green, and Lana Turner. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida and is an associate professor of English and humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.

Reviews

"A consummate observer of the contemporary present, Simonds is able to pan out and zoom in with remarkable speed and agility. This perch over the stream of detail, on the knife's edge of the present, is key to the motion of Simonds's writing."—Lindsay Turner, LARB review of Orlando, reviewing a previous edition or volume

"Atopia speaks to the events of our time, brutal and unafraid."—Dorothea Lasky, author of Milk

"The driving force of Atopia is how to carry on living while surrounded by all this fear—of capitalism, fascism, misogyny, bigotry, climate change, and internalized self-hatred and defeat. I can think of nothing more present and urgent than an interrogation of the paradoxAtopia is a much needed epic poem that I was hungry to devour."—Anne Barngrover, author of Brazen Creature

"Simonds is a poet of the re-calibrated, gendered, anti-racist and anti-capitalist epic. She's a Whitmanian American for the present, clear-eyed and vengeful, expansive enough for multitudinous catastrophe. These poems are full-throated exemplars of poetry's power, rising into the highest lyric incantation and outcry."—Lindsay Turner, author of Songs & Ballads

"A friend told me poets are maladjusted souls. Whatever! We have Sandra Simonds on our side, and this new book Atopia is something to give ourselves some proper maladjustments! Here is a poet I can easily imagine from the audience of Plato's speeches about how great slavery is for the Republic, telling the old man how lousy his governing ideas are, having Plato threaten to exile her from the city limits. This book rules my bookshelf! This book is a breastplate against weapons of enemies of the beautiful truth of this breathtaking world!"—CA Conrad, author of While Standing in Line for Death

Wesleyan University Press
Wesleyan Poetry Series

9780819579041 : atopia-simonds
Paperback / softback
88 Pages
$15.95 USD
9780819579195 : atopia-simonds
Hardback
88 Pages
$30.00 USD
9780819579058 : atopia-simonds
Electronic book text
88 Pages
$12.99 USD

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