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Cover for Square Inch Hours

Square Inch Hours


Sherod Santos


List Price: 26.95*
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Other Editions of This Title:
Paperback (1/1/2019)


A vividly rendered collection tracing the aftermath of a breakdown and the struggle to reconnect with the realities of daily life.

In the manner of a poetic meditation, Square Inch Hours draws on elements from fiction, memoir, daybook, and reverie, piecing together moments that follow in the aftermath of a breakdown.

Writing from an area outside psychology or personal history, the intensely solitary speaker relates the experience of reengaging with the world. With an adamant attentiveness, he turns his focus to observing reality in its minutest particulars: the expression on the face of a random passerby; the palsied hand of a grocery clerk; copulating flies on a windowsill; a deep gouge, like a bullet hole, in his apartment door. How he perceives is how he reconnects. The title, Square Inch Hours, expresses that impulse to capture each moment, as in the square of a photograph.

Praise For Square Inch Hours: Poems

Subtle, reflective. . . . These diorama-like texts, which locate a range of human feelings in the sundry details of the everyday, are something of a contemporary Book of Disquiet.

— Publishers Weekly

In Square Inch Hours Sherod Santos brilliantly negotiates the provinces of poetry and prose, of imagination and memoir, in devastating documents that range from fragments to sustained prose sequences. These are the lyrics of breakdown—of shock and aftershock—in coming face-to-face with dread and the depths of one’s own soul. At times piercing, at times as if anesthetized, Santos’s new work approaches the truths of love, death, family, sorrow. . . . As enigmatic as Borges, and beautiful in a way only Santos can be.

— David Baker

This is an immense book. Read its calm, its deeply crafted poise, in a single sitting, and you’ll finish absolutely breathless. Read it again, slowly, over a longer period of time, meditatively, and vistas will burst open. In distress, in disruption, in damage, out of elegy, there is renewal. I have never read a work quite like it, and every time I come up with a literary comparison, I realize it doesn’t hold, because Sherod Santos has produced a work entirely unique, in which literary, philosophical, and filmic references exist as extensions of the moment. These prose poems and aphorisms, these lyrical narratives, unfold exponentially. This truly is a work much greater than the sum of any parts. Stunning.
— John Kinsella

There are seraphim and scars, fog and Fellini in this brilliant collection, where the incisive, rhythmic imagery of poetry meets the depth and narrative of fiction. Every page evokes and invites the reader to see more clearly, to imagine more wildly, to read and to breathe more deeply.
— Amy Bloom

This is a book of observation, a catalog of urban surfaces and psychological detachment—as if suddenly Camus’s Stranger started to walk in the Chicago streets. Sherod Santos’s brilliant literary experiment.
— Adam Zagajewski

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393254983, 80pp.

Publication Date: July 11, 2017

About the Author

Sherod Santos is the author of seven books of poetry. A National Book Award finalist, he received an Award in Literature from the Academy of Arts and Letters. He lives in Chicago, where he works in an outreach program for the homeless.