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Cover for Brawl & Jag

Brawl & Jag


April Bernard


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“It is as if the poet set fire to her earlier work and wrote these poems in the light of those flames.”—Mark Wunderlich

April Bernard explores subjects ranging from childhood anger to adult grief, from a museum of skulls to the Western movie genre. By turns playful, sorrowful, and sharp-edged, Brawl and Jag stands as Bernard’s most personal and accessible collection to date.

From “Anger”:

I always lie when I always say

I didn’t know the gun was loaded.

Praise For Brawl & Jag: Poems

It is as if the poet set fire to all her earlier work and wrote these new ones in the light of those flames.
— Mark Wunderlich

April Bernard brings as deep, as concentrated and imaginative, an attention as it is possible to bring to reality, history, the self, and to their triple intersection in our living language. This is a miraculously balanced, refreshing, and startling book.
— Vijay Seshadri, winner of the Pulitzer Prize

Each poem in Brawl & Jag tells a little—or not so little—story that needed telling. About violence, essentially, as the title suggests, and its opposite… Bernard’s gracious ‘Let me taste it first for you’ might make you think of Siegfried Sassoon, or of William Blake.

— Elizabeth Macklin

April Bernard has the best ear in the business. She harmonizes the raucous and the classic, the songful and the wry, the courtly and the quick. These new poems are the most powerful, intimate, lucid, and indelible she’s ever written.
— Wayne Koestenbaum

W. W. Norton & Company, 9780393351736, 80pp.

Publication Date: March 28, 2016

About the Author

April Bernard is the author of four previous poetry collections and two novels. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker and the New York Review of Books. She teaches at Skidmore College in Saratoga Springs, New York.