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Atopia

A Marxist feminist epic

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.

Sample Poem:

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.

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
Wesleyan University Press
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