Trim size: 5.500in x 8.500in
Pub Date: 04/01/2011
List Price: $19.95
Billiter's poems, spaced to stutter on the page, create a compelling yet dark world of small-town childhood that is disorienting and not all that bucolic. The town of Shinbone is an intense place: boys set bottles of cheap aftershave on fire, which segues with uncomfortable ease into grandmother's killing axe dispatching chickens and Soup's hand shredded in the corn dryer.
This collection pushes a recollected past to an extreme, replacing memory with myth and lacing narratives of disfigurement, accident, wildness, and murder with a strange enchantment. Childhood here is no idyll, but rather the dreamlike entryway to the desires, doubts, and dismay of adulthood.
In William Billiter's prize-winning book, Stutter, the voices seem to halt and syncopate. Yet readers never turn away from these voices, not once. . . . In Stutter, speech itself becomes subject, the pages' space and breadth giving language itself its holy stutter and magic. This book is truly divine. I loved it as all readers must.
—Hilda Raz, Luschei Professor of English at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln and editor of Prairie Schooner
Because of Billiter's Stutter we meet Scooter, Blake, Moses, Stutter, Stink, Lloyd, Ersel, Willy, Niebuhr, and Gethsemane, and we have seats reserved for us: Section 3, Row Q, Seats 11 & 12. Meanwhile we learn that a flinch is a kind of echo and an echo is what one man needs to register depths of knowledge about family, fathers and sons, confessions, and the future. Stutter's a shapely, resonant, heartbreaking book.
—Dara Wier, author of Reverse Rapture