Like the prose poems of Baus’s previous collections, the paragraphs of this third book are slippery, surreal, haunting and entertaining. “Approach the smallest ghost after he has turned his back. A buzz of definition surrounds him. This is the sting of the fleeing beetle,” he writes in the opening poem, “Glass Ear,” showing his penchants for archetypal imagery, the rhythms of fables, and prose sentences that are nonetheless musically attuned. Other pieces spin fragmentary tales featuring hazily defined characters at the mercy of skittery syntax: “My brother returned from the burned-up hills. He contracted a different voice.// Whenever I asked him a question, he branched. He woke up outside his breath.” Baus (Tuned Droves) also invents a character called Minus, who appears throughout many of these pieces, ever referring, like the characters in the fiction of Ben Marcus, to the lives and implications of words: “Minus’s speech returned to worms.” This is a haunting continuation of the work Baus has been doing for years. (Jan.)
From the Publisher
"Marvelously sustained and densely rhythmic, this tightly constructed whole is built of parts that, at each level, all the way down to the phrase, constitute poems in themselves. Baus manages to keep a cast of words in constant replay until many of them take on the presence of character, and some emerge as characters themselves-Minus and Iris, for instance-keeping the whole on the verge of a narrative project that remains always just barely out of reach, just barely in another world in which language and animal endlessly interleave. Baus has opened a new literary field: the linguistic bestiary, a new zoo where words pace like fauves behind ever-thinning bars." —Cole Swensen, contest judge and author of Greensward, Ours, and The Glass Age
Eric Baus was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1975. His books include Tuned Droves (Octopus Books), The To Sound (Verse Press/Wave Books, Winner of the 2002 Verse Press, selected by Forrest Gander), and several chapbooks. He currently lives in Denver.