Grand and Arsenal

Overview

 

From the intersection of public and private fear, Kerri Webster?s award-winning collection speaks of anxiety and awe, vanishings and reappearances. A city both rises and falls; worlds are simultaneously spoken into being and torn down by words. ?This is how time sounds,? Webster writes; this is the hum and click of bodies ?desirous of believing we?re all vehicle, every wet atom of us,? even as the saved seeds root in the fallen brickwork and the artifacts pile up: wisdom teeth, hummingbird skulls, plumb ...

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Overview

 

From the intersection of public and private fear, Kerri Webster’s award-winning collection speaks of anxiety and awe, vanishings and reappearances. A city both rises and falls; worlds are simultaneously spoken into being and torn down by words. “This is how time sounds,” Webster writes; this is the hum and click of bodies “desirous of believing we’re all vehicle, every wet atom of us,” even as the saved seeds root in the fallen brickwork and the artifacts pile up: wisdom teeth, hummingbird skulls, plumb bobs, icons, antlers, incandescent bulbs.

Grand & Arsenal begins “Bless me I am not myself,” but it is not long before the probability of being blessed is revealed to be as remote as the concept of a whole self. Thus begins the book’s defining struggle, enacted by a multitude of voices which move from rush to stumble and back again—meanwhile using all the tools we as a culture use to hold fear at arm’s length.

We hear a familiar irony, as in “On a trip West, porn in the hotel room. I can take or leave it. The climax that puts me in the seats? World’s end.” We hear humor, as in “I believed in . . . / . . . a certain apocalypse not so much foretold as crafted / by large-brained monkeys.” We hear understatement, as in “knowing it does not matter / in the grand—she would say scheme, I would say / mishap—.” Most importantly, though, these poems allow for the fleeting triumph of an undefended voice, which appears often to emerge tentatively from a sort of exhausted collapse.

 

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781609380915
  • Publisher: University of Iowa Press
  • Publication date: 4/1/2012
  • Series: Iowa Poetry Prize Series
  • Edition description: 1
  • Pages: 88
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 7.80 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Meet the Author

Kerri Webster is the author of a previous full-length collection, We Do Not Eat Our Hearts Alone (2005), as well as two chapbooks: Psalm Project (2009) and Rowing Through Fog (2003). Writer in Residence at Washington University in St. Louis from 2006 to 2010, she currently lives and writes in her native Idaho.

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Read an Excerpt

Places I Haven't Slept

 

An island. The campground. In sixteen

states. At the sleep clinic, wanting

to strip the electrodes off

and glide home. Such feeble means: pill, wine, looped

sea sounds. In whatever bed

listening to breath, my body called

by what, jerking, muscles holding their animal

startle. By the Mississippi

in the house of sleeping women, barges

sliding past, my chest thick

with damp. The prophets thumbtacked to the walls

watching as I watched back.

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