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Romey's Order (Phoenix Poets) Paperback – April 1, 2010


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Editorial Reviews

Review

"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."--Peter Campion, Poetry

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
--This text refers to the Hardcover edition.

More About the Author

WHITING WRITERS' AWARD, KATE TUFTS DISCOVERY AWARD, THE BELIEVER POETRY AWARD, WITTER BYNNER AWARD/THE LIBRARY OF CONGRESS, LANNAN FOUNDATION LITERARY FELLOWSHIP, PUSHCART PRIZE, WOOD PRIZE FROM POETRY MAGAZINE

"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 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


"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


"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.

. . .As Riley arranges his details, especially as he negotiates the distance between his child protagonist and adult narrator, he fuses feeling with thought. There's a genuine metaphysical core to these poems: Riley asks not only how an individual can give shape to his or her own life through memory, imagination, and artfulness, but how this can be done in a specifically American situation.

. . . 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.

. . .There's a lot to marvel at here."

--Peter Campion,
Poetry (May 2010)

------------------------------------------------
REVIEWS:

POETRY MAGAZINE REVIEW, by Peter Campion:
www.poetryfoundation.org/journal/article.html?id=239288

NEW YORK TIMES REVIEW, by Dana Jennings:
www.nytimes.com/2010/10/19/books/19poetry.html

THE BELIEVER MAGAZINE REVIEW, by Dominic Luxford:
www.believermag.com/issues/201010/?read=review_riley

DALLAS MORNING NEWS REVIEW, by Alex Lemon: www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/ent/stories/DN-bk_poetry_1226gd.ART.State.Edition1.1484668.html

PITTSBURGH POST-GAZETTE REVIEW, by Jim Schley:
www.post-gazette.com/pg/10227/1079633-148.stm

REVIEW in the journal FREE VERSE, by Jon Thompson:
english.chass.ncsu.edu/freeverse/Archives/Winter_2010/reviews/RomeysOrder_AtsuroRiley.htm

KENYON REVIEW NEWSLETTER, by David Baker:
www.kenyonreview.org/newsletters/10June.html

Poems + Commentary:: POETRY INTERNATIONAL WEB
usa.poetryinternationalweb.org/piw_cms/cms/cms_module/index.php?obj_id=15779&x=1

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