ISBN-10: 0819579041
ISBN-13: 9780819579041
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publish Date: 11/05/2019
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 6.00" W, 0.30" H



Price: $15.95


A Marxist feminist epic


Atopia grapples with the political climate of the United States manifested through our everyday lives. Sandra Simonds charts the formations and deformations of the social and political through the observations of the poem’s speakers, interspersed with the language of social media, news reports, political speech, and the dialogue of friends, children, strangers, and politicians. The Los Angeles Review of Books characterized Simonds’s work as “robust, energetic, fanciful, even baroque” and “a necessary counterforce to the structures of gender, power, and labor that impinge upon contemporary life.” These poems reflect on what it means to be human, what it means to build communities within a political structure it also opposes.

Tallahassee. Tallahassee. Tallahassee.
Your mist today is incredible
as it settles on this rose garden!
When the largest rose shook off its dew
and looked at me like a cartoon, I smiled back
and promised not to break his neck.
And here we are together again, walking in a park
that honors dead children. A tree planted for each child
on such a mild day in December. And how the dead
children stream through me, scrolls of them:

Lily! Rose! Bobby!

Kierkegaard says anyone who follows through
on an idea becomes unpopular. And also
that a person needs a system, otherwise you
become mere personality. He must not have
known very many poets, so prone to tyrannical
shifts in mood. Change in the weather is equal to
don’t let me go crazy. In the car on the way
to school Charlotte says, “I like to be gentle
with nature because I like nature.”

But my mind wouldn’t rest, system-less,
as I drive through dread:

Lily! Rose! Bobby!

You’re dead, you’re dead

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"A consummate observer of the contemporary present, Simonds is able to pan out and zoom in with remarkable speed and agility. This perch over the stream of detail, on the knife's edge of the present, is key to the motion of Simonds's writing."–Lindsay Turner, LARB review of Orlando, reviewing a previous edition or volume

"Simonds paints a careful portrait of the struggle to embrace difficult realities in an age in which it would be irresponsible to ignore them, even if doing so offers no easy path forward."–Publishers Weekly

"Sandra Simonds's new book of poems, 'Atopia, ' sent me in search of her earlier work."–New York Times

"An epic consecrating empire's end, rather than its origins, this book-length poem sings of the absurdities, inanities, and injustices that pervade modern life. Fevered and philosophical, Simonds's fierce lyric rages against capitalism and patriarchy for stifling compassion and collective imaginationEclectic diction and a fluid use of form evince a restless mind that refuses to compartmentalize or to be contained."–The New Yorker

"Atopia writes out optimism, pessimism, exhaustion and potential action, writing around the potential, as well as the failure, of poetry, theory and art on political and social change"–Rob McLennan

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ISBN-10: 0819579041
ISBN-13: 9780819579041
Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
Publish Date: 11/05/2019
Dimensions: 8.90" L, 6.00" W, 0.30" H
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