Archive for the ‘Reviews’ Category

Not One, But a Lovely Two!
April 17, 2008

Brandi Homan reviews I’M THE MAN WHO LOVES YOU in The Cutbank Review today (an excerpt):

Even though King does something that there should be more of in contemporary poetry—addresses the sociopolitical aspects of life in the 21st century head on—I’m The Man Who Loves You accomplishes much more. It is disjointed, beautifully grotesque, and unsparing, yet it is ultimately hopeful, kind, and entertaining. In “I Used to Be Amy King,” King says, “…we are bred to be the best neglected fun, forthcoming” (32). Believe you me, King is this type of fun. I’m The Man Who Loves You is not to be neglected. This book is for anyone who has ever stepped into, or wanted to step into, their own “long black dream.”

Thanks, Brandi!


And Caroline Wilkinson reviews KISS ME WITH THE MOUTH OF YOUR COUNTRY over at Tarpaulin Sky (an excerpt):

Kiss Me with the Mouth of Your Country is a potent work not only artistically but politically, more so than King’s earlier poetry. Instead of loaded words, we get moments that bring us into a body where the borders shift. In this “country,” the “I” and “you” suddenly change because the line between the two keeps moving. The borders here are insecure because they are defended by private, piecemeal methods—“a pile of ash / that blows back into you.” This “country” is the body of a woman, and it stubbornly remains in quotes because it is a permeable thing, especially when trapped inside the home. Laws about rape and incest, ineffectual in practice, help keep it that way, as does the sexist culture. As a country, this body looks real enough, but because its borders don’t mean a great deal, it isn’t. Near the end of the chapbook, King returns to her earlier more cerebral style, turning images at a manic rate, but this idea of the body and its borders lingers. The poetry is haunted by it, like a house haunted by the idea of not being there.

Thanks, Caroline!



Never a More Generous Man
April 3, 2008


Never a more generous man have I met than poet and friend, Matthew Rotando. I take great pleasure in singing the praises of his first book of poems, THE COMEBACK’S EXOSKELETON. I wish you could all know him too, as you will find that once you fall in love with this collection, you will long to meet the person who has such zest for life as well as an eye not afraid to behold our evils. It’s really a lovely collection — and I’m not just saying that because I’ve been waiting for years for it to appear. You should throw caution to the wind and take up this EXOSKELETON! Discover how well dresses up your own worldview!

What others are saying:

Incorporating the density of Spanish surrealism and a sprawling Whitmanesque line, this amazing first book finds Rotando engaged in a poetic biathlon which draws equally from maximal and minimal traditions. There are tight, economical poems, free verse forms derived from the sonnet, poems leaping about the page, but my favorites are the wonderful prose poems tumbling over and under themselves toward gnomish statements that feel both didactic and self-parodying. –Tim Peterson, from the Foreword

The rich, exultant writing in Matthew Rotando’s first collection is both comic and cosmic. Lyrics steeped in the Latin American literary tradition disclose what might be called the surreality of reality in contemporary American culture, while cadences of Stein and Barthelme make the prose poems in The Comeback’s Exoskeleton ring with laughter of great philosophical depth. This is a writer unafraid to love and to err, and to do so with irrepressible grace and humour. To read such unapologetically joyous work is a tonic for melancholy and a prescription for wonder. –Srikanth Reddy, Facts for Visitors

And a few short poems from the collection, though there are many longer ones to gleefully sink into:



Son, watch the way the eaves bend when you breathe.

They move the way a star would

If you could corral water into spheres.


Shadows play in the paint under the floor:

Tentacular spirits!

They will hold your cages and laboratory equipment.


Your time as a human is near at hand;

I am repealing all the old regulations

Regarding prostrations and guttural pronouncements.


There will be things called Souvenir Shops;

Bring back an “I ♥ Mt. Rushmore” keychain for your mother.






I snave this heaking suspicion

That the poung yoet, Tom Devaney,

Is really the mold oviestar, Lon Chaney.

If lou yisten to the way they laugh,

Or notice their hartling, storror movie eyes,

You’ll sefinitely dee

That they’re both obvious dasters of misguise.





I like trouble. I like to shoot watermelon seeds at passing barges. I wanna

put Elmer’s Glue in your hair and make it stick straight up. I wanna go

down to the docks and kick some ass! Your shoes small like skunk. And

so do mine. If we were lizards, I bet we would both be geckoes with

sticky round fingers. A friend is someone who decides to find you out.

Let’s have a broken bottle party! A Chinese dude, Shih-Wu, said, “Pine

trees and strange rocks remain unknown to those who look for mind

with mind.” So let’s not bother. Let’s just walk arm in arm through a

crumbling metropolis, clacking castanets.





In the mood for one more? Try this one, complete with a nearly naked pic!


I Dig It
March 30, 2008



Jennifer Bartlett’s first book, with its most compelling title, DERIVATIVE OF THE MOVING IMAGE, is somehow not what I imagined it would be. I mean, there is shadow play and fondling of the slippery parts of relationships, but how can a first book reveal the mastery found within? I am envious and happy to have made this tome’s “moving” acquaintance. You would do well to spend a winter night curled around it too. Here’s one and a third to get you started:


The body has its own form of chaos, a solar system
through which it moves. When you touch me you
become a smaller part of this balance and it is
unclear whether it is skin or the idea of skin you are
reaching for. When I shake I can feel your temptation
to wound me, to tack me down like a saved, dead
insect. If my spine were not a question mark. If my
hands were not flutters.



It was the spring after my sister died that I began to notice
the moths. They would follow me from room to room beating
against the window shades or showing themselves in the one
tiny patch of light as I dressed for the day. Some days, some
hours, I would count as many as twenty and still they held no
significance for me. I saw them as many see the trees that line
the highway, just passing objects.

… [con’t]


If you thirst for the rest, you’ll have to go here and do a little dance!



  1. Jennifer Bartlett Says:
    February 26th, 2008 at 10:47 pm eAmy,

    Thanks. What a great surprise! I feel like the queen of England!

Best Second Book
March 30, 2008



(One time the singer Seal said something about how you have your whole life to write your first album, so people shouldn’t expect greatness out of a second attempt. These five say “go back in the water, Seal.”)

Goat Funeral, Christopher Bakken
Inflorescence, Sarah Hannah
I’m the Man Who Loves You, Amy King
Drunk by Noon, Jennifer L. Knox
a half-red sea, Evie Shockley



Best Book of New Poetry Published in 2007 ** Best First Book ** Best Second Book ** Best All-New Collection by a Canonical Figure ** Best Selected/Collected ** Best Poem in a New Collection ** Best Author Photo ** Best Book Title ** Best Book Cover ** Best Long Poem ** Best Book-Length Poem ** Best Opener ** Best Closer ** Best First Lines ** Best Closing Lines ** Technical Awards ** Best “Thirteenth Poem” ** Best Response to Coldfront **



The Politics of Ashok
March 29, 2008


Or rather, Ashok Karra’s thoughts on my political side. I am most grateful for his ongoing engagement and interest in my work.

Today, Ashok was moved by a recent poem that appears in Jacket, “Two if by Land, I Do”:

…As always, Amy King is well-aware of what I, as a student of Leo Strauss, would call the ancient/modern distinction. The fundamental difference between us and the medievals/Romans/Greeks is that we base politics on the fact men are not angels…


In the past, Ashok has explored “Everyone Has a Decision To Make“:

I want to meditate on the above poem in order to see the relation between speech and coming to a conclusion within one’s own thought. My own feeling is that this has broad implications for how we conceive of politics. If we cannot be sure of our own moral stances, how can we be so sure others are wrong?

Many, many thanks, Ashok for your thoughts on and with these poems!


“The true critic is he who bears within himself the dreams and ideas and feelings of myriad generations, and to whom no form of thought is alien, no emotional impulse obscure.” –Oscar Wilde (1854-1900)


One Response to “The Politics of Ashok”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    February 4th, 2008 at 8:00 pm, a Straussian (as in Leo, grandpop
    of the Neo-Cons), no less?!
    That’s a difference. But very
    thoughtfully analyzed…and the premises
    crisply laid out. Fascinating. And
    someone who follows the path back through
    the prisms to you… not like the reviewers
    who find mainly quirky lingo and mystery, eh?
    Another sees sense beneath shimmers..
    ..impressive. Some widely-studied codeword
    reader, maybe. To borrow a metaphor
    from Strauss, Ashok seems to work hard at
    seeing the shapes beyond the shadows!

    I’m a bit “open society”/Popper/Soros myself..
    ..heh..there’s a difference! But that makes Ashok
    all the more fascinating.

    I found you basically via phrase-tuning, Amy…
    ..I wonder if Ashok had some similar path.
    Or is it just the temptation of knowing there is
    something flashing at the bottom of your pools?

O Review!
March 29, 2008


Alexander Dickow reviews my book, I’M THE MAN WHO LOVES YOU, in the most recent issue of Jacket Magazine. A few excerpts:

… King displays her taste for paradox, conceptual knots and conundrums:

[…] I named my dog for the future except
I couldn’t remember what we’d all been calling her by then […].

My own preference for the baroque attracts me to these occasionally excessive verbal ripples and folds (is excess a negative quality?). Only Lautréamont’s contorted syllogisms can compare: they are never opaque, never senseless, but disfigured just enough to provoke a double-take:

What comes now? None of us died
the very moment that so many of us are still alive. … (‘La Vie Quotidienne’)

Amy King’s lexical palette is enormous, but her language remains economical to the extent that it evacuates the flabby redundancies and laziness so common in everyday speech (and in the poets that adopt a related esthetic). King is aware of the artifice at the heart of her poetic idiom, an artifice rare and refreshing in the thoroughly colloquialized landscape of contemporary American poetry. …

… I would suggest King should be read first of all as an unequivocally committed feminist: she often lampoons our inherited 19th-century conceptions of gender (see for instance, ‘This Is an Acting Marriage,’ quoted below, or ‘The Monster Within’). However, if she feminizes the internal storyteller, she by no means exclusively addresses a female audience (in other words, she feminizes your internal storyteller: yes, you). One of the collection’s most persistently recurring motifs is the inherent reversibility or interpenetration (!) of gender and sexuality …

King relentlessly flirts with her reader: eroticism is a privileged mode of interaction between reader and poem:

I know we can live without love from the waist up
and the kind that flows from up above, even horses
that speak our language, but the rest remains
a place we frequent with panty-laced desire and rely upon
for everywhere with bonus scenes as yet in production,
postoperative and pre-season. Like an apricot foam,
the hand that strokes a felt-like rose stem assumes
where it’s moving and when it’s moving in. (‘Mildly Free’)

Here as elsewhere, King’s poetry accomplishes a paradoxical synthesis of the cerebral and the sensual, viscera and intellect, summed up by the expression ‘scientific copulation in / religious veils’ (‘The Marriage of Birthdays’). Sex always involves an ironic ingredient, suggested here, for instance, by subtle comic allusions to the sexually ambiguous, male-and-female rose stem of the Romance of the Rose, not to mention Mr. Ed and Swift’s Utopic land of the Houyhnhnms. Such allusions suggest a sexuality filtered through layers of literary representation, complicated by culture, but no less invested with desire (indeed, all the more so).

–Alexander Dickow (Please go to Jacket Magazine #34 for the full review!)

6 Responses to “O Review!”

  1. didi Says:
    November 5th, 2007 at 7:54 pm eThis is a wonderful review. Congratulations.
  2. Jim K. Says:
    November 5th, 2007 at 11:41 pm eNice clips, Alexander. Cool review!
  3. Sam Rasnake Says:
    November 6th, 2007 at 12:30 am eA fine review, Amy. Insightful. Congratulations to you.
  4. Alexander Dickow Says:
    November 6th, 2007 at 1:20 pm eMay it bring you many more readers, Amy!
    And thanks to all for the kind remarks!!
  5. Ana Says:
    November 6th, 2007 at 7:02 pm eAmy/Alex, rock’n’roll!
  6. Amy King Says:
    November 9th, 2007 at 7:24 pm eThanks to all of you kind folks!

March 29, 2008


I wrote a little diddy about Rae Armantrout’s book NEXT LIFE.

Back at school today but I have two good poems to post later for you. I hope you re-visit tonight. Or tomorrow. The next day? Next life?

11 Responses to “Mini-Review”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    September 4th, 2007 at 9:11 pm eThoughtful stuff.
    Cool cover art!
  2. didi Says:
    September 5th, 2007 at 1:37 am eyou should write more reviews!
  3. Jim K. Says:
    September 5th, 2007 at 2:30 am eHmmm…that one was way too short for a review..heh.
    I see things ahead, mayhap.
  4. Jim K. Says:
    September 5th, 2007 at 2:31 am eOops…or, Amy should? ;-)
  5. didi Says:
    September 5th, 2007 at 1:07 pm ejim I think you did not click on the link. it is very nice review.

    try again.


  6. Jim K. Says:
    September 5th, 2007 at 2:03 pm eAmy’s? Yes, I did.
  7. Jim K. Says:
    September 5th, 2007 at 2:13 pm eApologies for the confusion.
    I enjoy all the reviews, the commentaries,
    and the poetic education here.
    I sort of attend this blog as a class of sorts,
    and sometimes follow the tips to chapbooks,
    so I tend to assume great analysis up front.
  8. Jim K. Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 12:02 pm eFor those standing at the dawn of the lids on RA (such as me),
    some backdrop to Amy’s review (Armantrout on early Armantrout):
    The earlier samples are handy to getting into this advanced stuff.

    …did I hear a few poems cookin’ , A.?

  9. Don Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 2:15 pm eSome new poems of hers in the September issue of Poetry.
  10. Amy King Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 5:06 pm eThanks for the comments, Jim and Didi. Printing out her “Poetics” statement now!

    And I’ll check out the new Poetry, Don – thanks for the tip!

    As for poems forthcoming, oh how I wish!


  11. Jim K. Says:
    September 6th, 2007 at 6:15 pm eYeah….RA has “Had” and “Fact” in “Poetry”…just picked it up!
    Border’s / Burlington MA has a few po. Journals on the rack.

“Dreamed Enough To Be True”
March 26, 2008



Matt Hart takes my love to town @ Coldfront Mag today ~

“… they’re compositions of bright ideas, music, and noise, resulting in (among other things) the deployment of form and content against one another to create tension, poetic texture, and (paraphrasing Apollinaire) the flare-up of multiple meanings in the flames of joy.

… Of course, part of why these poems work is because they don’t tell stories, and they aren’t loose either (esp. formally, musically). However, they are perhaps indebted to that other sense of “storytelling,” a.k.a. the fine art of fabrication/imagination. Or, as Oscar Wilde so delicately put it, “the fine art of lying.” And this leaves the reader and “you” and “I” ever on an ambiguous note—one that serves to echo, highlight, and remind us of the limits of understanding and sense-making.

… At risk of sounding too “Rah! Rah! go Ms. King” about things (though I see nothing wrong with that really), I should mention that this is a book that must/needs be read SLOWLY over time and ACROBATICALLY. One must be willing to read around, back and forth, and sideways in/between the poems—not merely left to right, top to bottom down the page. The music and connective tissues of the book work best when they’re allowed to speak to one another.

… I realize that some people may object that I’ve failed in this review to note the book’s obvious Wilco references. Yes, the book’s title is the same as the title of a Wilco song from their album Yankee Hotel Foxtrot. And it’s also true that the book’s first poem “A Ghost Is Born” is the same as the title of Wilco’s 2004 album of the same name. My sense, however, is that King’s book is of the sort that’s full of cultural references and markers, which will be of interest (or not) to readers depending on what they bring to their reading.

… On the whole, I’m the Man Who Loves You works beautifully, and it’s a book worth spending some time working through. For all its flashy machinations, the book remains surprisingly human and knowingly lovely in love.

… [con’t at Coldfront Mag]


p.s. The first person to name the title’s reference wins. Don’t Google – God sees you!


p.p.s. Anyone who guesses where I stole that image from extra-wins!


11 Responses to ““Dreamed Enough To Be True””

  1. Ana Says:
    June 13th, 2007 at 7:45 pm eI have a memo for you, from God. Says she doesn’t like Wilco.
  2. Rachel Mallino Says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 12:15 am eAmy, when I saw the picture, I immediatly thought of the cover art for Transatlanticism, but they are indeed different. I have to admit to liking this review much better than a previous review you posted (damn if I’m not lazy to reference exactly).
  3. Amy King Says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 5:25 am eAna, Not sure I trust her taste: have you seen her groupies?

    Rachel, It is cover art, but not for Transatlanticism. Glad you liked the review – I think it’s keen too~

  4. Amy King Says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 6:23 am eBy the way, Ana, you win. No one extra-wins – yet. Ana, what you win will be soon.
  5. Ana Says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 3:03 pm eI hope it’s alcoholic.
  6. Amy King Says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 7:01 pm eEven Isopropyl?
  7. Rachel Mallino Says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 7:08 pm eThat picture is going to come to me in my dreams tonight- I KNOW that picture but I just can’t put my finger on it.
  8. Amy King Says:
    June 14th, 2007 at 9:09 pm eHow about a hint, Rachel — the album is recent (2006) and the band does a kind of fusion music. They’re not an Eastern or Northern band. They have a small, but growing, loyal following, and I’m on a listserv for them (tho I rarely read the digest anymore and that won’t help you). Lots of guitar. Often melodic (maybe more symbiotic?) but not electronica. One name, starts with a “C”. Won’t hear them on pop stations, infrequently on WFUV. Does any of that help?
  9. Ben Kopel Says:
    June 18th, 2007 at 7:18 am eThat’s from Garden Ruin…by Calexico.

    I just ordered your new book off Amazon and I can’t wait.

    I need a kamera, to my eye.

  10. Amy King Says:
    June 18th, 2007 at 3:54 pm eBen, you extra win! If you send me your snail mail address, I’ll send your winnings: email me at amyhappens at

    Rachel, send me your address, and you’ll receive a thanks for playing gift!

  11. Michael Says:
    June 27th, 2007 at 1:16 pm eBelatedly . . . one of the nicest things about Hart’s review is that it becomes King-flavored as it goes on, as if he became the hot water (or the tea leaves) in an Amy-brew, osmotically swapping Hart-molecules of perception for Kingish ones. It’s not easy to do, as the previous lines demonstrate all too clearly. But in Hart’s case there’s a delightful blurring of the line between the text on the page and the reviewing reader, infused, enchanted, elevated.

Set On Fire, Or Burn?
March 25, 2008


I just happened upon a review of my chapbook, THE GOOD CAMPAIGN (Dusie 2006). Fionna Doney Simmonds stumbles around with the poetry a bit, but finally flatters aptly. I enjoyed the frustrations (sorry!) that lead to her picturesque conclusion (& wouldn’t mind a sip of that wine if I got to eavesdrop):

“… It is not a light poem — it is heavy, but not stodgy — a bit like Christmas pudding on Boxing Day around 9 pm after the leftover roast has been made into sandwiches. Her imagery, however, despite being overwhelming, is fantastic.

A feminine body needs to slice, not bubble,
the air that masks us clearer.

The same could be said of King’s poetry. This is the kind of poem that I would really enjoy bringing into a group discussion. A bunch of poetry enthusiasts, sitting around an open fire, drinking heavy red wine, heatedly debating the images that flood this chapbook. It is not a book for the fainthearted, definitely not for the novice. To appreciate this book you must be a serious poetry lover. It is also, having said that, a book for the poetry writer. Amy King has an amazing manipulative way with words that is an inspiration to anyone interested in the written word.”

–Review excerpt by Fionna Doney Simmonds from GALATEA RESURRECTS #4

One Response to “Set On Fire, Or Burn?”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    December 14th, 2006 at 5:00 am eFionna’s reaction seems to further my concept,
    that modern art has a useful purpose: that of evocation,
    in such a way as to resonate or otherwise provoke and
    bring out the thoughts of the receptor. Broken thought
    strings are like the pluck of a guitar string by a pick.
    The mind must complete the discontinuity, and the
    inner fabrication awakens…good exercise.
    I hope more evocative things flourish…too little
    is left to the imagination these days. The mice grow dull.
    Heavy wine and arguments over interpretations…
    ..sounds like a good evening, Fionna!
    Methinks the Oracles had wider purposes.

For Every Alibi …
March 23, 2008


An Antidote appears … Adam Fieled finds a few over at Stoning the Devil today,

” … Amy King stands out from the post-avant pack, because she has achieved a very difficult feat in this book, Antidotes for an Alibi– somehow, she has taken the conceptual assumptions of post-avant and humanized them, made them intimate. Her poetics foregrounds the human and the humane; yet her writing avoids overt attempts at transparency and is free of clichés … ”


5 Responses to “For Every Alibi …”

  1. Jim K. Says:
    May 21st, 2007 at 11:00 pm eIndeed.
    Amy carries the “puppet nun’s humming cargo”,
    and “..would not taste so sweet and lie”
    traveling “…skyways back to the silken arms of an encrypted someone..”
    There is no cliche in a place you have never been gone before,
    only the flash from the ink, of “…more ghost than ever was read..”
  2. Amy King Says:
    May 21st, 2007 at 11:42 pm eI know whatyersayin!!

    Txs, J~

  3. Joseph Massey Says:
    May 25th, 2007 at 10:36 am eI love down the street from that bar! It’s one of my favorites.
  4. Joseph Massey Says:
    May 25th, 2007 at 10:36 am eLIVE, I mean, but “love” is sort of appropriate on the right (rare) evening.
  5. Amy King Says:
    May 25th, 2007 at 12:56 pm eGet out! No way! It’s a tiny world, Mr. Massey …