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Other titles in the Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry series:
The Sleeve Waves (Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry)by Angela Sorby
Synopses & Reviews
Matthew Siegels disquieting first book of poems, Blood Work, explores the inner workings of a life lived in vulnerability. The narrative voice here is vulnerable to his sickness—Crohns disease—as well as the sickness” of loving. These poems are raw, exposed, and deeply authentic attempts to reconcile all that is difficult to look at in one life. They capture a constant striving for more: more understanding, more unfolding, more opening, in spite of a difficult and complex world; yet there are moments of quiet humor and lightness, reminding us not to take life too seriously.
Though there is plenty of darkness in Blood Work, it is ultimately a hopeful statement. The relief comes in the form of small moments of pleasure and letting go, where were brought to see the simple things: dewed grass beneath a streetlight, flowers tossed under the house and recovered, or sour strawberries at the farmers market.
Winner of the 2014 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry
Angela Sorbys aural, accessible poems meditate on the sensory world—sound, light, chords, color—reaching us in waves that break and vanish and yet continue.
This debut collection of poetry explores pain and longing, vulnerability, and the illness of Crohn’s disease, leavened by moments of quiet humor and hope.
An unsentimental and at times disquieting first collection, the poems of About Crows excavate self, family, race, location, sex, art, and religion to uncover the artifacts of a succession of traumas that the speaker does not always experience firsthand but carries with him to refashion into some new importance. This is a book of half-states, broken affiliations, and dislocation.
The speaker leads the reader through the fragments of a flooded town that grows increasingly elusive the more one looks for it; through a succession of Seoul "love motels" that further displace the outsider to unclaimed margins transformed into sites of creative invention; through "galleries" of artwork, where movement, color, and image are renewed through ekphrasis; and through the world of the metatextual long poem "The Cult Poem," where good and bad moral binaries tangle into a rat's nest of our best and worst spiritual ambitions.
The poems and sequences of About Crows are marked by their artistic balance of the sublime and the profane, of polyphony, syntactical complexity, clashing images, cagey humor, and unsettling sincerity, all trying desperately to connect.
Blood Work reveals what happens to the self when the body is compromised by illness. These poems explore the struggle to remain whole in the shadow of Crohn’s disease and to make a home for oneself in the body and in the world.
Winner of the 2014 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye
Inspired by thrift store knit sleeves, punk rock record sleeves, and, of course, print book sleeves, Angela Sorby explores how the concrete world hails us in waves of color and sound. She asks implicitly, What makes the sleeve wave? Is it the body or some force larger than the self?” As Sorbys tough, ironic, and subtly political voice repeatedly insists, we apprehend, use, and release more energy than we can possibly control. This collection includes two main parts—one visual, one aural—flanking a central pastoral poem sung by Virgilian sheep. Meant to be read both silently and aloud, the poems in The Sleeve Waves meditate on how almost everything—like light and sound—comes to us in waves that break and vanish and yet continue.
About the Author
Angela Sorby is an associate professor of English at Marquette University. She is the author of three books: Distance Learning: Poems; Schoolroom Poets: Childhood, Performance, and the Place of American Poetry; and Bird Skin Coat, winner of the 2009 Brittingham Prize in Poetry.
Table of Contents
A Is for Air
Notes from a Northern State
A Walk across the Ice
The Thorne Rooms
Watson and the Shark
Fall Forward, Spring Back
The Second Daguerreotype
The Suburban Mysteries
The Sleeve Waves
What Might Happen Might Not
Kochanskis, Saturday Night
Stopping at the Joyce Kilmer Rest Area on a Snowy Evening
The Ghost of Meter
Wide Boulevard, Tiny Apartment
Letter to Hugo from the Land of the Living
End of the Century
What Our Readers Are Saying