New Issues Poetry and Prose, 9781936970650, 80pp.
Publication Date: April 21, 2020
List Price: 16.00*
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Insofar is a collection of poems dedicated to analogical reasoning, seeking to remember basic terms of relation and proportion. Archival in mood, it works with and against the idea of an A–Z filing system. This alphabet is akin to a damaged rosary or abacus—an accounting system that carries on in the midst of physical or spiritual impairment. While the poems proceed alphabetically, there are gaps in representation, and redundancies. The poems get stuck in certain alphabetic registers and elide over others. Four of the poems share the same title, “Insofar,” as if transfixed by the relational reasoning set up by that adverbial phrase. The collection as a whole is cast in an adverbial mood, exploring disposition as a vital qualifier to thought and action. Its theology, insofar as it finds one, is earth-based, pluralistic, and cyclical. Its fondest prayer is that we come to our senses.
About the Author
Sarah Gridley is associate professor of English at Case Western Reserve University. Her poetry collections include Weather Eye Open, Green is the Orator, and Loom.
Praise For Insofar…
“Within the artifice of the alphabet’s orders—that architecture, that archive—we must find a way to inscribe an actual attention culled from the fact of our lives. We might note the facts tend to go astray, feel less than factual, and become a kind of faith. What such work requires, Sarah Gridley knows, is a strange and generous openness, one that welcomes in the world ‘as the shy host might a desired guest.’ Such hospitality is an ancient form of genius, a genius embodied in the kind complexities of these wondrous, wondering poems. . . . The I, the eye, is open ever-wider in these poems, somehow shy and somehow audacious, reverent and truthful, a genius of the heart and the hearth and the earth and the art.”
— Dan Beachy-Quick, author of Of Silence and Song
“Although its titles form an abecedarian, Sarah Gridley’s Insofar eschews ornament, irony, and merely trendy formal experiment. Her lyric poems are implicative, understated, their traces of narrative never resolving into tidy conclusions or gems of wisdom. Each stanza has a heuristic brilliance, an understated, mysterious gravity derived from the author’s constant attention to the uncounterfeitable particularity of her language— measured out in wildly alive lines broken to splay and recalibrate meanings. Gridley’s poems might be said to inaugurate the school of existential intimacy.”
— Forrest Gander, author of Be With