Synopses & Reviews
The poems of Landaus stunning second collection are dark, urgent, sexy, deeply sad, and, above all, powerful.”Publishers Weekly, starred review
Landaus intimate, lonely poems are profoundly engaged with the experience of the self in its starkest moments: when it is deprived, nocturnal, barely lingual...She creates a deeply erotic and resonant encounter between the lyric I and its solitude.” The Boston Review
She is both confessional and direct, like Sylvia Plath and Allen Ginsberg. Her taut, elegant, highly controlled constructions meditate upon yearning and selfhood
Landau reminds us of the nuanced beauty of language as, through their directness, her tight, graceful poems make readers feel as if they spoke only to them.” Booklist
These beautiful harrowing poems are new-minted and young, but also age-old, broken and wise. She has found the perfect tone for her city of interiors.”Huffington Post
"Hooray for a writer who can weave presence and absence, longing and loss of longing, into a tapestry of language as rich, honest, and compelling as this."Naomi Shihab Nye
"Landau registers the intensities of the flesh: pleasure, desire, limitation, and, ultimately, disappearance."Mark Doty
It is "always nighttime" in Deborah Landau's second collectiona series of linked lyric sequences, including insomniac epistolary love poems to an elusive "someone." Here is a haunted singing voice, clear and spare, alive with memory and desire, yet hounded by premonitions of a calamitous future. The speaker in this "ghost book" is lucid and passionate, even as everything is disappearing.
blame the egg blame the fractured stones
at the bottom of the mind
blame his darkblue glare and craggy mug
the bulky king of trudge and stein
how I love a masculine in my parlor
his grizzly shout and weight one hundred drums
in this everywhere of blunt and soft sinking
I am the heavy hollow snared
the days are spring the days are summer
the days are nothing and not dead yet
Deborah Landau was educated at Stanford University, Columbia University, and Brown University, where she was a Javits Fellow and received a PhD in English and American literature. She co-hosts "Open Book" on Slate.com and is the Director of the NYU Creative Writing Program. She lives in the Soho neighborhood of New York City.
"The poems of Landau's stunning second collection are dark, urgent, sexy, deeply sad, and, above all, powerful. Grouped into four sequences whose titles 'All Else Fails,' 'Blue Dark,' 'Someone' and 'Welcome to the Future' are as haunting as they are indicative of the psychic situation in which the book locates itself; these poems are spoken by a woman on the verge of letting go, giving up, fading away. The poems place us in a dark 'new york/ city of hidden interiors' where the poems' speaker says to a lover (most likely imaginary), 'dear someone I put a shimmer on for you/ tonight I am all sequins all lies// for you I've slit my skirt/ made a neckhole of longing.' Real or not, this affair is dangerous, opening a pit of self-hate, though Landau's abandon is thrilling in the way danger always is: 'dear someone,' a later poems says, 'thanks for the dream/ you leave a deep blue crease/ in the center of my day.' Their speaker isn't sure where these very private verses or perhaps confessions are leading, but she knows she won't be coming back: 'I'd say my name to him/ as we crossed the Triboro// I'd say it softly the way he likes it// it would be the last time/ I'd introduce myself that way.' (July)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
Landau creates "a poetry of vibrant physicality, open to joy and to failure."-Mark Doty