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Scattered at Sea (Penguin Poets)

Amy Gerstler


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A dazzling new collection from an award-winning poet--longlisted for the 2015 National Book Award for Poetry

Amy Gerstler has won acclaim for sly, sophisticated, and subversive poems that find meaning in unexpected places. The title of her new collection, Scattered at Sea, evokes notions of dispersion, diaspora, sowing one’s wild oats, having one’s mind expanded or blown, losing one’s wits, and mortality. Making use of dramatic monologue, elegy, humor, and collage, these poems explore hedonism, gender, ancestry, reincarnation, bereavement, and the nature of prayer. Groping for an inclusive, imaginative, postmodern spirituality, they draw from an array of sources, including the philosophy of the ancient Stoics, diagnostic tests for Alzheimer’s disease, 1950s recipes, the Babylonian Talmud, and Walter Benjamin’s writing on his drug experiences.

Praise For Scattered at Sea (Penguin Poets)

Praise for Scattered at Sea:

“This wry book is like a wave that knocks you over and changes how you view the world. . .[It] mixes salty humor, invigorating rhythms and sharp-edged wisdom.” —The Washington Post
Scattered at Sea takes deep, often beautiful dips into matters of femininity, sexuality, and mortality, while staying fleet, feisty, and musical enough to feel like short adventures. .  .Gerstler’s real strength is in the way she collides the sensual with the spiritual. . .the world she creates is beautifully diffuse, as freeform as her poems are.” —The Boston Globe

Scattered at Sea got under my skin in aways that I did not expect . . . [these poems] have a heart of sense-making. And that impulse toward gathering meaning from the shards of chaos is sorely needed in this particualr poetic and political moment . . . [Gerstler] reminds us of the struggle to be human in a capricious world." —Wendy Willis, Los Angeles Review of Books                                                                              
“Gerstler once again brilliantly amplifies the natural world in this blisteringly humorous eleventh collection. . .her dexterous poems work as satire as well as truthful reflections of humanness, often beautifully crushing in their honesty. . .what is most compelling is Gerstler’s dynamic consideration of spirituality, afterworlds, and reincarnations. . .[A] delightful, surreal, and well-rounded book.” —Publishers Weekly

Penguin Books, 9780143126898, 96pp.

Publication Date: May 26, 2015

About the Author

AMY GERSTLER is a writer of poetry, nonfiction, and journalism who lives in Los Angeles. Her ten previous poetry collections include Bitter Angel, winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award, and Dearest Creature, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize.