New Books by Midwestern Poets
God of Nothingness
God of Nothingness is a book for those who have seen death up close or even quietly wished for it. In these poems, honed to a devastating edge, Mark Wunderlich asks: How is it we go on as those around us die? And why go on at all? This collection is a brilliant testament to the human ability to make something tough-minded and resilient out of despair and the inevitability of death drawing near. Some poems are moving elegies addressed to mentors, friends, and family recently gone; some contend with the unasked-for responsibilities of inheritance and the family name; others call forth the understanding of being the end of a genetic line; still others remember a rural midwestern coming-of-age and, chillingly, an encounter with the serial killer Jeffrey Dahmer. Present all the while are the prevailing comforts and wonders found in the natural world, work, and the longing for traditions that seem to be passing from our time. Exquisite in its craft and capaciousness, God of Nothingness is an unflinching journal of solitude and survival.
“The superb fourth collection from Wunderlich disarms with its directness, humor, and pathos.”—Publishers Weekly, starred review
“The sonnet, like poverty, teaches you what you can do / without,” Diane Seuss writes in this brilliant, candid work, her most personal collection to date. These poems tell the story of a life at risk of spilling over the edge of the page, from Seuss’s working-class childhood in rural Michigan to the dangerous allures of New York City and back again. With sheer virtuosity, Seuss moves nimbly across thought and time, poetry and punk, AIDS and addiction, Christ and motherhood, showing us what we can do, what we can do without, and what we offer to one another when we have nothing left to spare. Like a series of cels on a filmstrip, frank: sonnets captures the magnitude of a life lived honestly, a restless search for some kind of “beauty or relief.” Seuss is at the height of her powers, devastatingly astute, austere, and—in a word—frank.
“Every poem in frank: sonnets is an example of the incomparable Seussian Sonnet. . . . Acute, resolute, buoyant, and unflinching.”—Terrance Hayes