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Atopia (Hardback)

P&S History > Humanities > Poetry

Imprint: Wesleyan University Press
Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
Pages: 88
ISBN: 9780819579195
Published: 5th November 2019
Casemate UK Academic

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Tallahassee. Tallahassee. Tallahassee.
Your mist today is incredible
as it settles on this rose garden!
When the largest rose shook off its dew
and looked at me like a cartoon, I smiled back
and promised not to break his neck.
And here we are together again, walking in a park
that honors dead children. A tree planted for each child
on such a mild day in December. And how the dead
children stream through me, scrolls of them:

Lily! Rose! Bobby!

Kierkegaard says anyone who follows through
on an idea becomes unpopular. And also
that a person needs a system, otherwise you
become mere personality. He must not have
known very many poets, so prone to tyrannical
shifts in mood. Change in the weather is equal to
don't let me go crazy. In the car on the way
to school Charlotte says, "I like to be gentle
with nature because I like nature."

But my mind wouldn't rest, system-less,
as I drive through dread:

Lily! Rose! Bobby!

You're dead, you're dead.

Atopia grapples with the political climate of the United States manifested through our everyday lives. Sandra Simonds charts the formations and deformations of the social and political through the observations of the poem's speakers, interspersed with the language of social media, news reports, political speech, and the dialogue of friends, children, strangers, and politicians. The Los Angeles Review of Books characterized Simonds's work as "robust, energetic, fanciful, even baroque" and "a necessary counterforce to the structures of gender, power, and labor that impinge upon contemporary life." These poems reflect on what it means to be human, what it means to build communities within a political structure it also opposes.

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