Having Been an Accomplice: Poems

Overview

Winner of the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry
In this arresting debut, love poems and interior monologues are reinvented in a time of war. Within them, Laura Cronk writes, “I want to blow up the Law with Language, having run my tongue around my mouth ten thousand times. Instead of not speaking, I want to speak.”

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Overview

Winner of the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry
In this arresting debut, love poems and interior monologues are reinvented in a time of war. Within them, Laura Cronk writes, “I want to blow up the Law with Language, having run my tongue around my mouth ten thousand times. Instead of not speaking, I want to speak.”

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
“Instead of not speaking,” writes Cronk in her debut, “I want to speak.” Here, speaking is meant as insurrection against injustice—whether in matters of love or war—wherever interiority is pitted against an unconquerable exterior: “Like praying, I thought that what I did inside meant something.” The first of the book’s two sections speaks out about a troubled love—where “distraction took on spiritual proportions”—and surpasses conventional renderings of heartache to describe a relationship’s absurd premises and motions: “We were mad to be in contact with each other./ Now we are in contact with each other.” Most ambitious is the second, title section, where poems in the voice of a warmonger’s wife explore how anyone might be accessory to hegemony: “Though he fought/ there were no marks on his body,/ there were none on mine.” Governed largely by free association, these minutes of one character’s interiority contain a roughness, as White House tapes might: “Not Leftist. More Painless. More hidden, more lawless. By that I mean I have no law degree. I’m a woman cooking.” If in these monologues-in-verse music is sometimes sacrificed for irony, Cronk’s project to “blow up the Law with Language” still breaks through—and with this debut, she’s surely lit a fuse. (June)
Library Journal
Winner of the 2011 Lexi Rudnitsky First Book Prize in Poetry, this collection opens with the subdued and highly self-possessed narrative of a woman who knows that her experience in the world is worth telling. There are arresting moments: "Ghosts aren't white/ They're not glowing./ They can give counsel/ Just can't spend money or touch/ What we would have been alive together/ Is dust." Every stanza reveals the rich inner life of a poet whose relationship to the world at times makes her akin to Kafka's Gregor and at others the diabolical Queen of Hearts. Cronk manages to sweat out the very few not-so-magical moments with remarkable poise and the sensuality that every thoughtful reader of poetry hopes to receive by surprise in one metaphor or another. With her distinctive voice, Cronk stands on her own alongside the great American poets. Part 1 will induce a sigh followed by a smile, leaving the reader confident in the truth of the words written. Part 2 promises to enchant and stir a political/spiritual fuss for those prone to daydreaming and who wonder at the grotesque and unique. VERDICT Recommended for all readers of poetry who enjoy the show of life in all its shifts and starts.—Annalisa Pesek, Brooklyn
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780892554133
  • Publisher: Persea Books
  • Publication date: 5/4/2012
  • Pages: 96
  • Product dimensions: 5.40 (w) x 8.30 (h) x 0.40 (d)

Meet the Author

Laura Cronk is the associate director of the Writing Program at The New School University and the curator of the Monday Night Poetry Series at KGB Bar. She lives in Jersey City, New Jersey.

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