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The Laughter of the Sphinx...manages to cut deep into the unknowable appeal of the best poetry, some of which Palmer can claim to have written.

Flavorwire  on Michael Palmer's The Laughter of the Sphinx

The Laughter of the Sphinx

by Michael Palmer


Michael Palmer’s new book—a collection in two parts, “The Laughter of the Sphinx” and “Still (a cantata—or nada—for Sister Satan)”—contains 52 poems.

The title poem begins “The laughter of the Sphinx / caused my eyes to bleed” and haunts us with the ruin we are making of our world, even as Palmer revels in its incredible beauty. Such central tensions in The Laughter of the Sphinx—between beauty and loss, love and death, motion and rest, knowledge and ignorance—glow in Palmer’s lyrical play of light and entirely hypnotize the reader. The stakes, as always with Palmer, are very high, essentially life and death: “Please favor us with a reply / regarding our one-time offer / which will soon expire.”


Extracting the Stone of Madness

Poetry by Alejandra Pizarnik

translated by Yvette Siegert

Revered by Octavio Paz and Roberto Bolaño, Alejandra Pizarnik is still a hidden treasure in the U.S. Extracting the Stone of Madness comprises all of her middle to late work, as well as a selection of posthumously published verse. Obsessed with themes of solitude, childhood, madness, and death, Pizarnik explored the shifting valences of the self and the border between speech and silence. In her own words, she was drawn to “the suffering of Baudelaire, the suicide of Nerval, the premature silence of Rimbaud, the mysterious and fleet- ing presence of Lautréamont,” and to the “unparalleled intensity” of Artaud’s “physical and moral suffering.”


Works and Days

Poetry by Bernadette Mayer


Part springtime journal (“why are there thorns?”), Works and Days meditates on the first wasps and chipmunks of the season, times’ passage, grackle hearts, and dandelions, while also collecting dozens of poems considering the Catholic Church, Sir Thomas Browne, “Go Away” welcome mats, books, floods (“never of dollar money”), the invention of words, local politics, friendships, property development, dogs, and Hesiod. Every page delights. As the poet herself notes: “My name is Bernadette Mayer, sometimes / I am at the head of my class.”

I don’t mean to get all

Parallel universey on you

But I am at once the spider

The spider web, and

Me observing them


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