"Zawacki combines the disciplined perception of a naturalist with the inspired perception of a poet. The elegiac and prophetic, the spartan adherence to specific detail, the vivid understanding of words as events, all recall Thoreau. But this 21st century author must grapple with a paradoxical idea of wilderness littered with petrochemical and astrophysical artifacts, a geography of the imagination where 'waves are stammering apocrypha and graffiti.' By Reason of Breakings is the work of one of our most gifted young American poets."--Susan Howe
"Combines verbal energy and fluency to a degree rarely found in first books. Sometimes it uses a language that suspends itself with such assurance that it makes a certainty of uncertainty. Sometimes it presents and erases itself in the same instant. Its paradoxes challenge experience, its truths are at odds with the obvious. Everywhere one feels the sweep of its cadences, its powers of invention, its amazing and subtle intelligence."--Mark Strand
"If the human soul could squint, the meticulously recorded landscapes in By Reason of Breakings are what it very well might see. For each of the poems in this collection evokes a setting in which the inner self seeks counterpart, confirmation, from a world that offers—far too often—little more than its own unremitting conceits. 'Dark be not dark but some other desire,' Zawacki proposes as his poems, deflective as light itself, shimmer, refract, and—with uncompromising acuity—emit a rare and eloquent luminosity quite their own.”--Gustaf Sobin
"In prose poems and firmly crafted lyrics, Zawacki gleans the best from the worlds of the naturalist and the linguist, often in the same breath. . . . Most impressive in By Reason of Breakings are the poise and assurance Zawacki maintains through the breadth of form and subject and through the labyrinth of statement and un-statement, a sign of his skill and intelligence as a poet.”--Carolina Quarterly
"Zawacki leans into the uncanny, describes it exquisitely, and gives us a world that feel fully and personally engaged. . . . Zawacki reaches. He takes on the world and its pluralities with a generosity that is rare, beautiful, and convincing."--Antioch Review
About the Author
Andrew Zawacki is co-editor of the international journal Verse, a reviewer for the Boston Review and the Times Literary Supplement, and an editor of the anthology Afterwards: Slovenian Writing, 1945-1995. A former Rhodes and Fulbright scholar, he studies in the Committee on Social Thought at the University of Chicago.