Nancy Kuhl: Suspend
Published 15 May 2010
Paperback, 88pp, 8.5x5.5ins, £8.95 / $15
Suspend, Nancy Kuhl’s second full-length collection explores the haunted languages of desire, sexuality, and fertility, erupting between choosing and not choosing motherhood. A series of poems, fragments, short prose pieces, and fractured nursery rhymes, Suspend inhabits the sexual and syntactic tensions that form not only in dreams and hidden corners of the unconscious, but within domestic spaces as well. The power of Suspend comes from its commitment to image and lyricism as means to engage conflicting internal forces, fraught historical circumstance, and their inevitable intersection: "the needle / the eye the pierce and stick the single / spot of red the smear and blur and // this moment this pinhole / the whole thing passes through."
"Wide awake and unruly, Suspend is saturated
with acts of revelation and risk. The body can be 'laid open like a
book,' but words also
perform their own physiology, and the alphabet keeps time like the calling
of stops on a train. Pushed ahead by narrative momentum and pulled back,
suspended, by contemplation, recollection, and the dizzying potential of
human will and desire, these poems possess a vibrantly lived verbal energy.
In the articulation of such powerful tensions, one begins to believe that
our programming can be undone, the calendar rewritten, the train diverted
to new destinations." —Elizabeth Willis
"Taking place within a lunar month, and likewise, within a menstrual cycle, Suspend is deeply concerned with pregnancy, sexual desire, self and self-doubled and doubling. In this collection of poems, fragments, prose, askew children's verse, and insomniac's jottings, Kuhl privileges the difficult inquiry of the whole book over the jewel-like quality of her 'finished verse.' The work often feels manic, written down as quickly as the unconscious gives its fragments of memories connected to an insomniac's roving/raving mind; then, in extraordinary counterpoint, the poems assemble the urgent fractures of the diary-like notes into verse of remarkable formal beauty and integrity." —Dan Beachy-Quick
"This moment of historical exigency requires the invention of new forms; Kuhl's response is without irony and full of consequence. She marries the emotional depths of 'confessional' poetry with avant-garde techniques and a philosophical and syntactical insistence that the self is definitively relational. The book's tensions, the barest trace of narrative, the images, the color repertoire, the severities of the syntax, the intimations of a vanishing, of someone or something disappearing, all converge to implicate the reader in its mystery. Suspend is unusually important and I think it will have an immediate and widespread impact." —Forrest Gander
UK trade orders via Bertrams Books or Gardners Books.
US trade orders via Ingrams or Baker & Taylor.
Please support your local bookshop by ordering Shearsman titles from them. If you prefer to order online, use the following links:
Order from the Shearsman online store
Order from amazon.co.uk
Order from The Book Depository
Order from amazon.com
Order from Barnes and Noble.com (USA)
Order from Small Press Distribution (USA)