Synopses & Reviews
Arda Collins is the 2008 winner of the annual Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. Mesmerizing and electric, her poems seem to be articulated in the privacy of an enclosed space. The poems are concrete and yet metaphysically challenging, both witty and despairing. Collins emotional complexity and uncommon range make this debut both thrillingly imaginative and ethical in its uncompromising attention to detail. In her Foreword, contest judge Louise Glück observes, “I know no poet whose sense of fraud, the inflated emptiness that substitutes for feeling, is more acute.” Glück calls Collins volume “savage, desolate, brutally ironic . . . a book of astonishing originality and intensity, unprecedented, unrepeatable.”
“Arda Collins' savage, desolate, brutally ironic first book has the electric excitement of a master performance conducted in a deliberately isolated space, as though isolation were a form of control that promoted fluency... At the heart of the poems' struggle is shame, which results not from something the speaker has done, from action, but rather from being, from what she is or what she lacks. The private closed spaces that protect this speaker from being seen (while paradoxically freeing her to speak) function in other ways, both contextualizing and mirroring a metaphysical claustrophobia: the bleak fate of being always one person. This is a book of dazzling modernity. . . . Caustic, pithy, ruthlessly sharp witted and keen eyed. . . . Devoid of that taste for rhetorical splendor that turns so easily stodgy. . . . Within its devised constrictions, this voice has the freedom to say anything. The result is a book of astonishing originality and intensity, unprecedented, unrepeatable.”—Louise Glück
About the Author
Arda Collins lives in Denver, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in poetry. Her poems have been published in journals and magazines including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, A Public Space, and others. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she was a Glenn Schaeffer Fellow.