A Crash of Rhinos


Title Details

Pages: 88

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 10/31/2000

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2273-5

List Price: $20.95

Related Subjects

POETRY / American / General

A Crash of Rhinos


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  • Description
  • Reviews
In these quizzically probing and provocative poems, atoms and torture, tattoos and laundromats, mug shots, the theory of light, and such personalities as Joe Louis and Bruce Lee join in shaping a simultaneously personal and historical narrative of love, family, and desire. The tension between the public and the private saturates these poems with a breathless energy that carries the reader through Rekdal’s self-aware depiction of American culture and romance, complete with Harlequin romance novels and an account of her parents’ courtship. Though Rekdal delights in turning traditional images of love upside down, what she finally offers is a grateful and graceful view of humanity, which convinces us that, as she says in “Convocation”: “Nothing is a single moment . . . / No private event lacks history.”

'Forget safety. Tell me more about accident,' says Paisley Rekdal, and that might well be her ars poetica. The poems in A Crash of Rhinos are smart, funny, and sexy—beat that for a trifecta. But Rekdal is not after mere sensation. She pursues the seeming randomness of life for the knowledge it has to offer: 'That night in question—its arson, its accident— / it was the first moment / I knew how to love you.'

—Andrew Hudgins

In A Crash of Rhinos reason and the uncensored disclosures of excited speech coexist with astonishing intensity. The American language seems suddenly, single-handedly revitalized. The poems are passionate, sexual, demonic. They are ceaselessly inventive. They are beautiful.

—Mark Strand, former Poet Laureate of the United States

What a fabulous and fabular debut . . . The spacious narrative plane of the book is crisscrossed with myriad purposes. Here the tropes of physical science, the tactics of exploration narratives, the rich lineage of literary forebears—and all the risky pleasures of invention—are not just artifacts attached to the poems; rather, they are vitally informing partners to every lyric excursion. Rekdal's large voice is as capable of interrogation as of thunderstruck awe, and her spacious poetic site contains—it requires—chaos as well as shapeliness, irony as well as affection, velocity as well as entropy. If these poems prove that we 'help erode the things we want / to illuminate,' they also resist that proof with every fiber of language.

—David Baker

About the Author/Editor

PAISLEY REKDAL is the Poet Laureate of Utah and a professor of English at the University of Utah. She has been honored with a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship, a Pushcart Prize, and a Fulbright Fellowship to South Korea. Her work has been published in numerous anthologies, including Legitimate Dangers and the Pushcart Prize Anthology.