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by Monica Youn

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly
George Herriman drew the comic strip Krazy Kat, which was published across America, between 1913 and 1944. It followed the antics of the titular cat, who is madly in love with Ignatz Mouse, who would rather attack Krazy with a brick than return the feeling. The strip serves as the inspiration and jumping off point for this second book by Youn (Barter), though intimate familiarity with the strip is hardly necessary to enjoy these poems. Unrequited desire is the theme. “Oh Ignatz won't you play me/ like a filigree flute?” asks one of four poems titled “Untitled (Krazy's Song).” Ignatz becomes an open-ended figure for the inaccessible beloved, a kind of muse that's always out of reach. In wiry verse, prose poems, sharp, jagged stanzas, and even lines that mimic the movement of a tetherball, Youn traces the many incarnations of desire: “the way water is always rushing between a ferry// and its dock in that ever-present gap.” In the stunning “X as a Function of the Distance from Ignatz,” desire is measured in feet: “(he is forty feet/ away) the stiff wind/ palpably stripping// his scent from her hair.” Not only has Youn created a thrilling book of poems but also opened new avenues for ekphrastic poetry. (Mar.)

Product Details

Four Way Books
Publication date:
Stahlecker Selections
Edition description:
New Edition
Sales rank:
Product dimensions:
6.00(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.30(d)

What People are Saying About This

Cal Bedient
“In Monica Youn’s stunningly imaginative series Ignatz, George Herriman’s comic-strip villainous mouse, Ignatz, is demoused and, with inexhaustible invention, transformed into an object of passion—not necessarily Krazy Kat’s passion, this time, but definitely crazy. Here, in fact, Ignatz is less an object than a figure of life’s heartbreakingly attractive, elusively multiple possibilities... Spare, choice, witty, daring, musical, itself never tiring, Youn’s style is more than equal to both the romanticism and the grimness.”
Stephen Burt
“…No poet of Youn's generation has made more demands on herself— and none has done more in her art.”

Meet the Author

MONICA YOUN is the author of another poetry collection, Barter. She is an attorney in the Democracy Program at the Brennan Center for Justice at the NYU School of Law. She has been awarded poetry fellowships from the Library of Congress, the Rockefeller Foundation, and Stanford University. She lives in New York City.

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