Shortlisted for the Gerald Lampert Memorial Award
Emergencies, faith, truancy, and poverty intersect in this wry debut that volunteers a transfusion of the unpredictable for those who yearn to transition beyond a muralized Olive Garden world.
Stevie Howell's [Sharps] takes its cue from an Egyptian hieroglyph used interchangeably to represent "waters," the letter N, and all prepositions within a sentence. Similarly, [Sharps] alters its structure and functionality from page to page. The Queen launches an advertising campaign to procure our envy. The last unicorn crochets a sweater out of the sisal cords of the books. The falsity of Billy Joel's New York propaganda is grounds for libel. We discover the one thing you can do "With a sawed-off rifle, a low IQ, and curiosity/about human biology."
From certain angles, [Sharps] embraces the possibilities of poetry — from others, it engages in a protracted street fight with language.
"These poems are coded emergency and emergent code: hail, cut glass, cathedrals, systems, skeletons, and scorched earth. Stevie Howell has found a fault line underwriting Reality and turned this fissure, this terrible brokenness, into a lens. She sees the queasy, exact particular and can phase from its contours into metaphysics and back before we sense the ground shifting. An astonishing debut. An astonishing collection, full stop." — Ken Babstock
Pub date: October 7, 2014