ROME (Hardcover)


By Dorothea Lasky

Liveright, 9780871409393, 144pp.

Publication Date: September 29, 2014

List Price: 23.95*
* Individual store prices may vary.


A heartbreaking collection from one of the most recognized and influential new voices in American poetry.

Dorothea Lasky has been hailed as "undoubtedly one of the nation's most talented younger poets" (Huffington Post). From her first book, AWE, Lasky has been crafting her hallmark voice, a mixture of language that is "boldly colored, unabashed, and wildly human" (Timothy Donnelly), presenting her readers with poetry full of "blood-red realness" (Boston Globe) and haunting lines that "recall Frank O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg" (Chicago Tribune). With each new book, from the grand religiosity of AWE to the flat sadness and nihilism of Black Life to the witchery of Thunderbird, her poems have kept gaining an increasingly robust readership and have influenced an entire generation of new poets, fusing the transcendent vision of the New York School with a kind of performative confessionalism, bringing the force and power of the classical world into the everyday.

ROME, her fourth collection, marks the arrival of this seminal American poet to the classic Liveright imprint. This work finds her in the arena of eternal longing and heartsick desire, confronting her ghosts and demons, savaged by grief and lust. ROME is a book populated with love's proxies, its wounded animals and desiccated bodies, in league with her chosen poetic company: Catullus and Anne Sexton, Nicki Minaj and Drake. Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith writes, "Dorothea Lasky's ROME is dark, fearlessly frank, unabashedly vulnerable, and full of real live heart." In these poems of high lyricism, Lasky fuses the ancient world, with all its grandiosity and power, with the fierceness and heartbreak of our everyday world, where sometimes all a poet can do is to carry her line like a weapon in an awful blood sport––the blood jet––taking no prisoners as she slashes across a landscape of language, strange fascinations, real people, and the imagination.

About the Author

Author of ThunderbirdBlack Life, and AWE, and editor of Open the Door: How to Excite Young People About Poetry, the Missouri-born Dorothea Lasky is an assistant professor of poetry at Columbia University. Her poetry has appeared in the Paris Review, Poetry, and the Boston Review. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

Praise For ROME: Poems

Dorothea Lasky's ROME is dark, fearlessly frank, unabashedly vulnerable and full of real live heart. In line after incantatory line, these poems catch me up, and the raw, stark truth of them holds me rapt, like a spell—something meant to console even as it chastens—and so I understand that what they are built from, and building upon, is the animating energy all true language houses. This is unforgettable work from a poet of urgent and inimitable voice.

— Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars

Beginning with her debut, AWE, Dorothea Lasky has been perfecting a simplicity that is as learnedly classical as it is up to the moment, as panther-like in its elegance as it is, like a panther, brutal. 'In face of everything,' she warns, 'I write loud words,' but under their loudness, as in their simplicity, a great complexity of insight and feeling converges and resounds. Love, wrath, desire, happiness, sorrow, despair and even disgust—all the human affects are called on and considered here, and in elemental form, tempered only by wit (never by politeness or piety). No one else is writing poetry as boldly colored, unabashed, and wildly human as Lasky's is, and ROME is her best book yet.

— Timothy Donnelly, author of The Cloud Corporation

Dorothea Lasky is one of the very best poets we've got. Her poems radiate weirdness and raw power; you can feel your mind grow new folds as you read them. They lay waste to milquetoast notions of poetic longing or melancholy, and instead go in for the vibrating, bloody facts of sadness, anger, desire, bare life, all returned to us more intensely, strangely, and sometimes comedically, by her words. The line is Lasky's measure, and she wields it like an axe she's been carrying through several lifetimes, that kind of wisdom. Her ROME is huge and intrepid and perfect, a total gift.

— Maggie Nelson, author of Bluets

ROME is a trip with the wheels engaged to land at every line ending, then flipped up again. A wholly open-hearted book bringing me back to Bernadette Mayer, Maureen Owen and the suffragettes. True life.

— Fanny Howe, author of Come and See