Romey's Order (Phoenix Poets series)

Riley, Atsuro

Published by University Of Chicago Press, 2010
ISBN 10: 0226719421 / ISBN 13: 9780226719429
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Synopsis: Romey's Order is an indelible sequence of poems voiced by an invented (and inventive) boy called Romey, set alongside a river in the South Carolina lowcountry.
 
As the word-furious eye and voice of these poems, Romey urgently records--and tries to order--the objects, inscape, injuries, and idiom of his "blood-home" and childhood world. Sounding out the nerves and nodes of language to transform "every burn-mark and blemish," to "bind our river-wrack and leavings," Romey seeks to forge finally (if even for a moment) a chord in which he might live. Intently visceral, aural, oral, Atsuro Riley's poems bristle with musical and imaginative pleasures, with story-telling and picture-making of a new and wholly unexpected kind. 

WINNER OF THE KATE TUFTS DISCOVERY AWARD, THE WHITING WRITERS' AWARD, THE BELIEVER POETRY AWARD, THE WITTER BYNNER AWARD/LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, LANNAN LITERARY FELLOWSHIP, NEA FELLOWSHIP, THE PUSHCART PRIZE "Atsuro Riley's astonishing and original debut collection, Romey's Order, thrives off its music. The poems are about the attempt to make sense of the world, to account for all the strange and disparate details that enthrall consciousness, and to hold them in some kind of right relation. . . There's a lot to marvel at here . . .The tension between the world of fact into which each of us is born and the desire to forge our own new worlds results here in beguiling music, a music that brings these poems alive, with all their sinew and subtlety."--Peter Campion, Poetry


Atsuro Riley's indelible first-book masterpiece--opens with "Once upon a time," and thereafter an entire world emerges. . .  Romey's Order presents a world teeming with mystery, natural wonder, childhood discovery, and--everywhere under the surface--the secret, almost magical power of language. Throughout the book, Riley's evocative abilities are flat-out astonishing.
The handcrafted poems of Romey's Order bear the mark of a fully developed, highly idiosyncratic sensibility--a sensibility that lends a from-out-of-nowhere quality to this collection, and that results in poems that are a pure delight to read. Riley's debut is a blast of fresh air for poetry, leaving one with the almost unsettling question: what would happen if his next collection outdid this one?
--The Believer magazine, May 2011    (The Believer Poetry Award citation)
"Atsuro Riley's Romey's Order is a dazzling first book. . . among the year's best. . .The lexical fireworks power the narrative with physicality.  The pleasures of Romey's Order are wondrous and manifold."--Dallas Morning News

"One of the most exciting and distinctive debut collections in years."--The Believer

"A stunning first book of poems. . . . Even read silently, Mr. Riley's delicious words roll and roil in the mouth."--New York Times

"Originality is easier said than done. Most works of art, like most consumer goods, are versions or outright imitations. In contemporary poetry, even the so-called experimental often seems derivative and weighted with conventions. But when a new book of poems is as different from precedents as Atsuro Riley's Romey's Order, readers should take special notice."--Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

"Atsuro Riley's Romey's Order is a first book with rare, powerful distinction--experimental in its forms and syntax, yet familiar as an old-time fiddle for its Appalachian twang, landscape, and imagery." --Kenyon Review

"Atsuro Riley's strange, beautiful and unsettling debut is like nothing else you will read this year."--Hudson Review

From the Back Cover: "The best literature forces you out of your old eyes and that's what happens here. Atsuro Riley's Romey's Order is deep craft--brilliant and consuming and thoroughly strange. When you put this book down, American poetry will be different than when you picked it up."--Kay Ryan, United States Poet Laureate, 2008-10

"Romey's Order is the world of a young boy growing up in backwoods South Carolina.  His father is an ex-soldier, his mother the Japanese wife the father brought home from his time as a soldier. Thus the radical dichotomies in the young boy's world, rendered in a dense and beautiful, intensely expressive and inventive language. This language is indebted to Hopkins as well as Heaney, full of a child's invented word-play trying to capture the smells and textures and country-speech he is constantly assaulted by. The boy is obsessed with language, words that save the dense world from extinction. Words confer almost a magical immediacy to experience, but also wound: half-Asian, at the fair he finds a stall with a game called 'Shoot the Gook Down.' The author frames all this as his heritage: 'This is the house . . . I come from and carry.'  The result is amazing and indelible, a brilliant work."  --Frank Bidart

"Romey's Order will draw you in and forward from the moment you enter its compelling initial image: an enchanted cave of a ditch pipe. The poems are pure joy on the level of the syllable, pure music on the level of the phrase, and pure integrity on the level of the form: a 'pure product of America'--yet one that is sanely exuberant, as real to the touch as a barbed wire fence and as tender to the mind as a willow."--Susan Stewart
"Atsuro Riley's astonishing and original debut collection, Romey's Order, thrives off its music. The poems are about the attempt to make sense of the world, to account for all the strange and disparate details that enthrall consciousness, and to hold them in some kind of right relation.... There's a lot to marvel at here. The tension between the world of fact into which each of us is born and the desire to forge our own new worlds results here in beguiling music, a music that brings these poems alive, with all their sinew and subtlety."
--Peter Campion, Poetry

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Title: Romey's Order (Phoenix Poets series)
Publisher: University Of Chicago Press
Publication Date: 2010
Binding: Hardcover
Book Condition: Used: Good

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