Title Details

Pages: 96

Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in



Pub Date: 10/24/2005

ISBN: 9-780-8203-2774-7

List Price: $20.95

Related Subjects

POETRY / American / General



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  • Description
  • Reviews
The poems in Passenger shift between the mythology of the Middle East and the bombed-out cities of the former Yugoslavia, the ancient Roman tale of Romulus and Remus, the choreography of murder, and the hawking of grisly war memorabilia on destroyed city streets. Influenced by Susan Maxwell’s experiences as a relief worker in a Croatian refugee camp at the height of the Bosnian War in the 1990s, these poems document a nameless, mythological war that has collapsed the boundaries between contemporary and ancient history and between personal memory and folklore. The poems’ tender voices wake to find themselves fused to objects or to the dead, and begin to speak those first precarious, childlike, and prophetic words that will allow them to reestablish contact with the outside world—a world that has become “one / sentence long repeating so the last chain / could sing while it murdered the first.”

Maxwell's poems reflect that the complexity and intricacy of their making is intrinsic to their meaning. These poems are bold with their gorgeousness; like the clapper inside the oscillating bell, they will make the hollowness resound.

—Elizabeth Robinson, author of Apprehend

In Susan Maxwell's Passenger, one is immediately swept into a world of great freshness, banishing, from the very outset, any sense of the predeterminate. In its originality, her syllables come to cohere like tesserae in one sonorous mosaic after another. Far from depicting, they explore the often unbidden reaches of the given world in all its mystery and ambivalence. In Maxwell's speculative landscapes, it's us, the readers, that become the enthralled passengers.

—Gustaf Sobin, author of In the Name of the Neither

'I held your mouth while it kicked, while it rose off you, the thing you imagined had built you': Susan Maxwell’s sense of language’s necessary and dissatisfied traffic with illusion is uncompromising. Maxwell invents, with the strong originality of a de Chirico, a strange, brilliantly detiled world whose fantastic cities are versions of our own, but 'in echo and gust,' in 'space flooded with space.' We, too, know of 'withholding nothing from the law' while feeling bewildered as to where we really belong, what with the 'ear stemmed wide in the water.'

—Cal Bedient, author of The Violence of the Morning

About the Author/Editor

SUSAN MAXWELL earned her BA in Peace and Conflict studies at the University of California, Berkeley, and her MFA in poetry from the Iowa Writers' Workshop. Her work has been featured in such publications as Verse, American Letters & Commentary, Fence, VOLT, and River City Magazine, and she was nominated for the Pushcart Prize in 2004 for the poem "Plural for Tree at the Forested Edge." Maxwell currently resides in Oakland, California.