North American: Authors M to P
(USA / Canada / Caribbean)

A - D | E- L | M - P | R - Z

Jill Magi Cadastral Map

Published 2011. Paperback, 112pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $18
ISBN 9781848611726 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

In Cadastral Map, Jill Magi writes: "I enter as a writer, one kind of mapmaker, needing to ask, is traditional nature writing in English a cadastral map? Abstracting, narrowing, taking an especially strong hold in North America, the New World that never was new? Even as 'green is the new black' and environmentalism gains moral momentum, is 'nature writing' still our flawed point of origin, creating ideas of the land and nature that tend to erase people and local knowledge as we go?" In answer to these questions, Magi arrives in three states: the New Jersey farmland of her childhood, a Kentucky of deep lyricism and painful inequities, and early 20th century Vermont where progressive policies established an idea of nature, pitting local needs against policies to attract tourists. She enters these questions and sites via poetry—because "a policy is a path that is made, an effect to feel."

Picture of book cover Jill Magi Cadastral Map
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Jill Magi: Torchwood

Published 2008. Paperback, 88pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $16
ISBN 9781905700547 Download a sample from this book to your desktop.

A second collection, and first from Shearsman, by this Brooklyn-based poet, artist and small-press publisher.

While Torchwood documents the loss of a religion and at times, the loss of language, it gathers hope as it goes. The mostly serial works in this collection explore the possibility of faith in humanity — colleagues, classmates, strangers, lovers — attempting a language of clear-seeing and shared spirit. A poetry of inner and outer worlds, of the diary and of the subway, Torchwood moves between the sentence and its trust in storytelling, and the fragment — evidence of the need to create silence in order to tell.

Picture of book cover Jill Magi: Torchwood
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Aubrie Marrin  Incognitum

Published 2015. Paperback, 80pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $16
ISBN 9781848613973 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

“What pleasure, what an incredible joy, to enter into this stunning museum, this rich and mesmerizing collection. Marrin’s first book is a requiem, a gorgeous and strange diorama of beauty and sorrow. A true cabinet of curiosities, these poems usher in a seemingly endless list of what’s been lost: Marrin, along with her parade of ghosts of dead counters, explorers, and collectors, chronicles our demise. ‘Come into my diorama,’ Marrin whispers, ‘Everything’s life size. / Everything’s as it should be in the wild.’ Incognitum is an extended fever, an archive, a getting-it-all-down-before the world is gone.” —Cynthia Cruz

 
 
Cover of Aubrie Marrin - Incognitum
 
Camille Martin Sonnets

Published 2010. Paperback, 108pp, 9x6ins, £9.95 / $16
ISBN 9781848610705 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

In her second book of poetry, Camille Martin breathes fresh life into the sonnet in a collection that is at once edgy and lyrical. The word "sonnet" comes from "song," and the musicality of Sonnets is not surprising, given Martin's background as a classical musician. These poems demonstrate a virtuosic range of approaches and themes; some are inspired by texts as disparate as nursery rhymes, theories of cognitive science, a history of street names, and her own dream journals. The chorus of voices in this collection sing confidently and fluently, proving the sonnet to be an ideal vehicle for Martin's love affair with language.

Picture of book cover Camille Martin Sonnets
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Camille Martin Looms

Published 2012. Paperback, 80pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $16
ISBN 9781848612358 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

The title of Looms signifies the weaving tool as well as the shadowing appearance of something. These "woven tales" were inspired by Barbara Guest’s statement that a tale "doesn’t tell the truth about itself; it tells us what it dreams about." The strands of their surreal allegories converse, one idea giving rise to another, and the paths of their dialogue become the fabric of the narrative. In a second meaning, something that looms remains in a state of imminent arrival. Such are these tales, like parables with infinitely deferred lessons.

Picture of book cover Camille Martin Looms
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Joseph Massey: Areas of Fog

Published 2009. Paperback, 116pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $17
ISBN 9781848610521 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

One needs only to watch and listen in gratitude as poems informed by Bronk, Niedecker, Olson (to name a few), and the landscape of Humboldt County, California take shape "In the room / of a memory // of a room" in Joseph Massey's first full-length collection, Areas of Fog.

"Joseph Massey sees with a composer's eye and sings in a microtonality all his own. Syllable by syllable phenomena miraculously unfold. This is fantastic work, understated, charmed, and open. The world simply happens in these poems and its moments are tuned marvels. You don't want to miss it." —Peter Gizzi

Picture of book cover Joseph Massey: Areas of Fog
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Joseph Massey At the Point

Published 2011. Paperback, 103pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $17
ISBN 9781848611665 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

In At the Point, Joseph Massey's second full-length collection of poems, memory gives way to edges and angles, to "Sound heaped/on sound," to spaces that "make the shade/tangible," as words arrange a place for the actual.

Picture of book cover Joseph Massey At the Point
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John Matthias Trigons

Published 2010. Paperback, 108pp, 9x6ins, £9.95 / $17
ISBN 9781848611252 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Trigons derives its title from an obscure Roman ball game mentioned by Petronius in Satyricon. The word also has meanings in the fields of music, astrology, gemology, architecture, poetics, and comic book illustration, all relevant to this book that is sub-titled "Seven Poems in Two Sets and a Coda." Trigons shares something of the same spirit as Matthias's two most extravagantly inventive experimental sequences, Automystifstical Plaice and Pages: From a Book of Years. In an essay on Matthias's cycles and sequences from the 1970s through the present, Mark Scroggins has said that Trigons explores the poet's "usual historical and literary obsessions, this time revolving much around the Second World War" through a series of surprising juxtapositions like that between the Nazi Rudolph Hess and his contemporary the English pianist Myra Hess, or the discovery made during the book's composition of yet another John Matthias, this one a British composer and neurophysicist" who becomes a shadowing doppelgänger in this book in which both music and neurology play a highly significant role.

Picture of book cover John Matthias Trigons
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John Matthias Who Was Cousin Alice? and Other Questions

Published 2011. Paperback, 370pp, 9x6ins, £14.95 / $23
ISBN 9781848611689 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Who Was Cousin Alice? & Other Questions attempts to answer both the first question posed in the title about American poet John Matthias' early family memories, and then to raise and engage, in a series of memoirs and critical essays, a large number of others. These range from a search for some answers about his wife's British family in 'Kedging in "Kedging in Time",' to memoirs inquiring into 'Poetry and Insomnia,' 'Poetry and Murder,' and the literary imaginations of 'Grand Old Dirty Old Men' (J.M. Coetzee, Gabriel García Márquez, and Octavio Paz, among others), an examination of erotic writing of the old and aging as a manifestation of "late style." Specifically literary essays include considerations of W.H. Auden, Benjamin Britten, Roy Fisher, Paul Muldoon, John Berryman, Robert Hass, Robert Pinsky, Michael Anania, and 'British Poetry at Y2K.' In this hybrid mix of genres—including both very recent work and a selection of pieces culled from the last twenty-five years—Matthias has added a number of poems that enter into a dialogue with his essays and memoirs.

Picture of book cover John Matthias Who Was Cousin Alice? and Other Questions
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John Matthias Collected Shorter Poems Vol. 1

Published 2013. Paperback, 280pp, 9x6ins, £14.95 / $23
ISBN 9781848612792 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Chronologically the first, Collected Shorter Poems, Vol. 1 is editorially the third of John Matthias's three-volume Shearsman Collected Poems. It includes the poems that first made Matthias's reputation—experimental work like 'Turns: Toward a Provisional Poetics and a Discipline'; politically activist poems from the 1960s and '70s such as his elegy for the Kent State University students killed by the Ohio National Guard; poems written from his fifteen years of living off and on in Suffolk; poems articulating an aesthetic of play-and-game like 'Clarifications for Robert Jacoby'; along with several epistolary poems, explorations of place, and family-oriented lyrics, such as the often translated and reprinted 'Poem for Cynouai.' This volume joins Collected Shorter Poems, Vol. 2 and Collected Longer Poems in bringing together all of the poetry, with the exception of Trigons (available separately from Shearsman), that Matthias wishes to preserve.

Picture of book cover John Matthias Collected Shorter Poems Vol. 1
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John Matthias Collected Shorter Poems Vol. 2

Published 2011. Paperback, 284pp, 9x6ins, £14.95 / $23
ISBN 9781848611801 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

This is the first volume to be released in an ongoing project collecting all the poems of John Mattthias. Two volumes of shorter poems and one of longer poems will form the complete package and, with this initial release in the year that the poet turns 70, these books will bring back into a print a major body of work that readers on both sides of the Atlantic need to know better.

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John Matthias Collected Longer Poems

Published 2012. Paperback, 356pp, 9x6ins, £14.95 / $23
ISBN 9781848612402 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

The second volume in the Collected Poems of John Matthias, following Vol. 2 of the Shorter Poems in 2011, this volume covers all of the author's long poems from before 2010. That year's Trigons is excluded and remains available from Shearsman. Texts included in the book are: Facts from an Apocryphal Midwest (1986); Northern Summer (1980–1983); The Stefan Batory Poems (1973); The Mihail Lermontov Poems (1976); An East Anglian Diptych (1990); Cuttings (1995); Pages: From a Book of Years (1998); Automystifstical Plaice (2000); Laundry Lists and Manifestoes (2003) and Kedging in Time (2006).

Picture of book cover John Matthias Collected Longer Poems
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John Matthias  Different Kinds of Music. A Novel
Published 2014. Paperback, 188pp, 9x6ins, £12.95 / $20
ISBN 9781848613706 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]
 
Different Kinds of Music follows Timothy “Westy” Westmont through six episodes from his childhood and youth, through his experiences as an archivist and a thief, to encounters with William Faulkner’s bear in St. Louis, Hemingway’s lingering ghost at Walloon Lake in Michigan, and Phillip Roth’s Goodbye, Columbus in Columbus, Ohio itself. The narrative is sometimes funny, sometimes sad; and it progresses in an order more interesting than the merely chronological. Between the episodes appears a sequence of interchapters about music, the different kinds of which define Westmont’s experience from the 1940s to the turn of the 21st century in an idiom different from that of the narrative parts of the book. Different, too, is the final long chapter, “Westmont as Talbot Eastmore,” in which the author of the previous five episodes tells his own story in terms of a miniature bildungsroman which is also an elegy for an old friend.
Cover of John Matthias - Different Kinds of Music
 
John Matthias  Complayntes for Doctor Neuro and other poems

Published October 2016. Paperback, 106pp, 9 x 6ins, £9.95 / $18
ISBN 9781848615182 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Shortlisted for the 2017 Ohioana Book Award.

Complayntes for Dr. Neuro is John Matthias’s first volume of poetry since Shearsman’s publication of his three volumes of collected poems in 2011, 2012, and 2013. The present book, ending with the title sequence about being forced to confront some of the very neurological problems in fact which have in many earlier poems been something of a theoretical pre- occupation, also represents the more experimental side of his work that has tended to preoccupy the critics who have written on him over the past three decades, along  with translation-based work (Virgil, the Chinese Shijing, Rimbaud), a run of austere shorter poems, many of an elegiac cast, and some graffiti-like riffs. Matthias has always written in several styles, and those are once again on display in this volume. The notes include an important gloss on the title poem, 'A Poetics of Parkinson’s.'

Cover of Complayntes for Doctor Neuro by John Matthias
 
John Matthias  At Large

Published October 2016. Paperback, 396pp, 9 x 6ins, £16.95 / $27
ISBN 9781848615175 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

At Large is a collection of essys by poet, John Matthias, covering matters both personal and literary in the same manner as his Who Was Cousin Alice? (2011) It also includes an interview by Joe Doerr with Matthias and another by Matthias with Larry Siems, concerning the latter's work with American PEN.

Cover of At Large by John Matthias
 
Erica McAlpine  The Country Gambler

Published 2016. Paperback, 82pp, 8.5 x 5.5ins, £9.95 / $16
ISBN 9781848614819 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

In this accomplished first collection, Erica McAlpine draws truths from the everyday, meditating over contingency and luck and the often-vexed relationship we have to these things. The casual register of her verse belies its formal complexity. Many of the poems are crafted in tight syntactical units of just one or two sentences; others are composed in rhyming sapphics, a meter favoured by the poet Horace, whose guiding voice recurs throughout the collection. Humorous and serious in turn, these quietly virtuosic poems achieve lofty aims: to teach, to advise, to warn — to show, in the manner of a close friend, what the world has to offer, what it sometimes takes away, and what can and should matter most.
Cover of Erica McAlpine - The Country Gambler
 
Becka Mara McKay A Meteorologist in the Promised Land

Published 2010. Paperback, 84pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $16
ISBN 9781848610835 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

In these poems, the reader carries her "lone heartbeat" while sifting through the confusion of a psychically, physically rubbled world. There is loss, transcribed literally as spaces in the poems, because in truth there is no "word-/for-word translation." But in this stark landscape there is the "body's strange persistence"; there are meanings made and held close, words collected "in secret". Language equals transcendence and the bridge on which all other things are built: "tell me// your name."

Picture of book cover Becka Mara McKay A Meteorologist in the Promised Land
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Deborah Meadows: involutia

Published 2007. Paperback, 84pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $16.
ISBN 9781905700196 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Deborah Meadows' fourth collection is a rigorous and spellbinding series of poems: innovative, experimental, and featuring such unexpected collisions as Luce Irigaray & Gilles Deleuze encountering zen philosophy.

Picture of book cover Deborah Meadows: involutia
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Deborah Meadows: Goodbye Tissues

Published 2009. Paperback, 100pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $16
ISBN 9781848610132 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

"From Anglo-Saxon diphthongs to that mysterious three-dimensional mirrored state of being, the enantiomorph, from Aquinas to Hölderlin to California, Deborah Meadows takes us on a journey through the tissues of memory and the patchwork of images that make up our contemporary world of learning, consuming and creating." — John Tranter

Picture of book cover Deborah Meadows: Goodbye Tissues
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Deborah Meadows Translation, the bass accompaniment: Selected Poems

Published 2013. Paperback, 232pp, 9x6ins, £12.95 / $20
ISBN 9781848612808 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

The bass guitar creates patterns that make music into a visceral experience—they are what infect the body. The poems in Translation, the bass accompaniment: Selected Poems are in dialog with other authors, and here, experimental poetry engages logician Quine, encyclopedic novelist Melville, philosophers Luce Irigaray and Gilles Deleuze, theologian and synthetic philosopher Aquinas, poets Dragomoshchenko, Hejinian, Raworth, Baudelaire, and Celan, Soviet cinematographer Dziga Vertov, video artist Bill Viola, and others.

Picture of book cover Deborah Meadows Translation, the bass accompaniment: Selected Poems
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William Minor Pigeons and Pussy

Published 2013. Paperback, 91pp, 8x5ins, £9.95 / $6
ISBN 9781848613072 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Two poem-sequences: Pigeons, and Pussy. A short poem on every page, 3 or 4 lines. The sequences presented on facing pages, emphasising the fact that the title word could be subtitled by the other if one wished. At various times, hilarious, scurrilous, and thought-provoking, this collection is one of the most unusual you will come across.

"Wittgenstein and Magritte go for a walk in the park: Satie and Jarry race by on bicycles: just before the finish line, Duchamp steals their tires for a sculpture." —Stuart Kendall

Picture of book cover William Minor Pigeons and Pussy
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Paul Naylor Book of Changes

Published 2012. Paperback, 88pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $16
ISBN 9781848611993 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

The poems in this book grow out of an extended encounter with the ancient Chinese book of divination, the I Ching or Book of Changes, which is a collection of sixty-four hexagrams comprised of various combinations of broken (yin) and whole (yang) lines. — Paul Naylor

Picture of book cover Paul Naylor Book of Changes
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Geoffrey O'Brien  In a Mist

Published 2015. Paperback, 82pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $16
ISBN 9781848613607 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

In a Mist is Geoffrey O’Brien’s seventh collection of poems. It brings together scenes recovered from dream or experience, transmuted fragments of myth, passages retrieved from lost libraries and recollected conversations, the story lines of imaginary films, snapshots of lake and street corner and darkened construction site, the inventions of sleeplessness, transcriptions of chime tones and birdsong, and the memory of faces.

Cover of Geoffrey O'Brien - In a Mist
 
Kristy Odelius: Strange Trades       

Published 2008. Paperback, 88p, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $16
ISBN 9781905700844 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Strange Trades blends performances of language, verbal play, and narrative fragmentation with more conventional lyric approaches. Exploring the ways that sense is led or revealed via sound-texture, the collection frequently addresses the intellectual, domestic, and perception-based experiences of women. The poet Campbell McGrath has said of Odelius’s work: "In her passionate whimsy she invokes influences from Wallace Stevens to the Robert Desnos praised by her 'Virgins of Chicago', marvelous creatures who 'who work nights at Federal/Screw Products'. Deft, dry-witted, fabulistic and musical, these are poems to be savored."

Picture of book cover Kristy Odelius: Strange Trades
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Toby Olson  The Other Woman — A Brief Memoir

Published 2015. Paperback, 78pp, 8 x 5ins, £8.95 / $16
ISBN 9781848614277 [Download a PDF of the introduction to this book here.]

In 2014, Toby Olson's wife Miriam died at the age 80, and after nearly 50 years of marriage. She has suffered from Alzheimer's for some years before her death and Toby became her principal carer. This is a memoir of that period, a story of love and frustration, remembering and forgetting. Miriam is also The Other Woman of the title – a woman other than the one she once was. 

"With each seemingly tiny insignificant detail (his wife’s chant “little little little little little little”) Olson lets us in to the unfathomable reverberations of his feeling, and I will not soon forget the constellations he has unfolded." — Meredith Quartermain

 
Cover of Toby Olson - The Other Woman
 
Toby Olson: Darklight

Published 2007. Paperback, 120pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £9.95 / $18.
ISBN 9781905700233 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Author of ten novels (among others The Life of Jesus, Seaview and Utah) and over 20 collections of poetry (including We Are the Fire — Selected Poems, and Human Nature, both from New Directions), Toby Olson demonstrates in his new collection that the passage of time has only sharpened his narrative voice. Toby Olson is a story-teller, puckish and avuncular by turns, and this new collection will delight his many admirers.

Toby Olson divides his time between Philadelphia and Cape Cod.

Picture of book cover Toby Olson: Darklight
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Rochelle Owens Out of Ur: New & Selected Poems 1961–2012

Published 2013. Paperback, 242pp, 9x6ins, £14.95 / $23
ISBN 9781848612587 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

A survey of the life's work of one of America's most original avant-garde poets and playwrights.

"Rochelle Owens' writing is 'sui generis,' brilliantly inventive, immensely learned, sophisticated, and witty in its conceits.  She is, in many ways, a proto-language poet, her marked ellipses, syntactic oddities, and dense and clashing verbal surfaces. Hers is a universe of stark gesture, lightning flash, and judgment, a poetic microstructure in its superb modulations of rhythms and internal rhymes, its ironies and paradoxes. In its uncompromising savagery, its passionate rejection of sentimentality, Owens' lyric voice is unique among contemporary poets. An astonishing body of work."  —Marjorie Perloff

Picture of book cover Rochelle Owens Out of Ur: New & Selected Poems 1961–2012
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John Peck I Came, I Saw — Eight Poems

Published 2012. Paperback, 118pp, 9x6ins, £9.95 / $17
ISBN 9781848612136 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

"For my money, the best poet of my generation… as indifferent to academic fashions as he is to those of the poetry market." —Clive Wilmer

"Perhaps the most challenging—and one of the most rewarding—poets of his generation." —Robert Archambeau

Picture of book cover John Peck I Came, I Saw — Eight Poems
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John Peck  Cantilena

Published 2016. Paperback, 364pp, 9 x 6ins, £14.95 / $24
ISBN 9781848614734 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Thematically, Cantilena appropriates subjects familiar to the Modernist long poem: recent European and American history, art making, political corruption and the question of individual complicity, and the bearing of classical and religious heritages on the present. Cantilena is also one of our only major long poems so far to consistently engage climate change. Yet, for this reader at least, the work’s chief power comes not from the positions it stakes out on these topics, but rather from its performance of a kind of imaginative magic — what Peck calls ‘undersensing.’ This ‘undersensing’ is carried out in three distinct arenas: historical vignettes, personal remembrances, and synchronicities snatched from a lifetime of reading. It is no exaggeration to say that the poem treats the dead, in Henry Vaughan’s words, as ‘alive and busie.’ These stand-offs with ghosts inform the flux in the speaker’s self, often caught between curiosity and terror: ‘Though they only stand there, they came many miles, / and though you wait, you’ll be the first to move.’  —Nate Klug, ‘Falling In: A Foreword’ 
Cover of John Peck - Cantilena
 
Ted Pearson   The Markov Chain

Published April 2017. Paperback, 78pp, 8.5 x 5.5ins, £9.95 / $17
ISBN 9781848615335 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

"When Basil Bunting declared that “Pens are too light. / Take a chisel to write,” I imagine he had in mind the kind of exact and exacting poetry Ted Pearson has been steadily producing for decades. In The Markov Chain, Pearson presents a series of eight-line poems, each composed of four exquisitely crafted alexandrines: “These formal restrictions // are like benedictions … Constraints lead to freedoms // exceeding predictions.” Raising the ante, Pearson uses these formal constraints to probe the social constraints contemporary culture imposes on art and life. “When the People say we, // they don’t mean you and me. / The consensus they’re seeking // will set no one free.” This double take on constraints creates an animating tension throughout the book, one in which “The gist of the lyric // tells a whole other tale.” Pearson’s chiseled poems enact a deep investigation into language that at once revels in and questions its own constraints. Follow at your own pace, but Pearson’s ear, as always, won’t lead you astray." —Paul Naylor

Cover of Ted Pearson - The Markov Chain
 
Christian Peet: Big American Trip

Published 2009. Paperback, 80p, 9x6ins, £9.95 / $16
ISBN 9781848610156 [Download a sample PDF from this book here.]

Assuming the form of postcards authored by an "alien" of unknown nationality, ethnicity, and gender, addressing a variety of people and organizations (political figures, multinational corporations, people in public toilets, et al), Big American Trip is a startling document of fear and loneliness in the 21st century U.S. Whether deconstructing road signs, a failed relationship, or the state of contemporary poetry, the voice behind these texts is at once familiar and strange, determined to be free, and desperate to communicate with anyone who has ever felt at odds with the Language of a Nation.

Picture of book cover Christian Peet: Big American Trip
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Simon Perchik: Mr Lucky

Published 1984. A5 centre-stapled, 36pp. £4.00. A few copies still available.
ISBN 9780907562078

Since reprinted in the author's Collected Poems, Hands Collected (Pavement Saw Press).

Picture of book cover Simon Perchik: Mr Lucky
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