Rae Armantrout is a professor of writing in the Literature Department at the University of California at San Diego, and the author of ten previous books of poetry, including Money Shot, Versed, Next Life, and Veil: New and Selected Poems. She is the winner of the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the 2009 National Book Critics Circle Award. (Author photo by Rosanne Olson)
In Just Saying, improbable and even untenable speakers are briefly constituted—only to disappear. The result is part carnival, part nightmare. A television pundit’s rhetoric segues into an unusual succulent with writhing maroon tongues. When the world suddenly becomes legible, is that revelation or psychosis? In this book, the voice of the Lord and/or the voice of the security state can come from anyplace. The problem of identity becomes acute. The poems in Just Saying may be imagined as chimeras, creatures that appear when old distinctions break down and elements generally kept separate combine in new ways. Here Armantrout both worries (as a dog worries a bone) and celebrates the groundless fecundity of being and of language.
“No poet gets caustic, or self-critical, or sarcastic, as well as Armantrout, whose quick stanzas—half Twitter, half Emily Dickinson—say a lot about how language, money, love, and memory can fail us, and in very little space. This collection, in particular, might give readers still on the outside of Armantrout’s brilliance a set of new ways in.”
Wesleyan University Press