Averill Curdy was born in the Pacific Northwest, where she worked as an arts administrator and in the software industry. She has received fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts and the Rona Jaffe Foundation, among others, and her poems have appeared widely in both the United States and England. She lives in Chicago and teaches at Northwestern University. (Author photo by Patty Michels)
A sparrow like a “fumbled punch line” is lost in an airport; a man translating Ovid is transfigured by witnessing a massacre in Jamestown in 1622; a woman smiles seductively as the skin on her back is opened out like a wing; a lizard upon a laptop shimmers with the true life, primitive and binary, of our modern information age.
In the sonically rich, formally restless poems of this debut collection, Song & Error, the thread that unravels all we think we know of the world is plucked loose and drawn from a seal’s beached corpse. Uniting past and present, history and autobiography, Averill Curdy’s poems strive to endure within “the crease of transformation” and to speak—sing—of that terrible beauty.
"Ovid's famous error has come again to be poetry's great gain. Averill Curdy's Song & Error is a triumph of sound, sense, and nuance. Poems rarely sound as good as these while still imparting such sustainable wisdom. This is poetry that, in its lush overheard pleasures, bends both history and our sense of selves as though they were magnetic fields and poetry the Earth of their magnificent domain. Song & Error is a collection that brings to us 'news of the opal distances' and is familiar with the 'colors of myth,' those rare cadences of the higher frequencies in which poetry becomes more than art by becoming pure, lovely, strange, and beautiful art."
—Rowan Ricardo Phillips
Farrar, Straus and Giroux