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The Kingdom of the Subjunctive Paperback – July 1, 2002

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 80 pages
  • Publisher: Alice James Books; 1st edition (July 1, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1882295234
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882295234
  • Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 5.5 x 0.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 3.2 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (6 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,134,308 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Brilliant, necessary, deeply felt, cut-to-the-quick, explosive, sassy and real damn good are just a few ways of describing Suzanne Wise's The Kingdom of the Subjunctive. In the words of Wallace Stevens, Wise's poems resist true wisdom almost successfully. -- Lawrence Joseph

I love Suzanne Wise's poems because they're droll and cavalier, magnificent and terrified all at once. With all the invisible poise of masculinity-which she doesn't care to possess-she manages to flip responsibility governing her poems so that what's secrectly driving them feels like everyone's problem. And that seems like a grand success. As if a vast and almost patriotic distress signal were being sent out. -- Eileen Myles

In The Kingdom of the Subjunctive, the cruel weights of history are freshly remembered, while computer-age white noise is subject to an almost lascivious forgetting. The center will not hold; the apocalypse is, was, and will be. Suzanne Wise's imagination is assertive and surprising; her sensibility extends from the deliciously funny to the austerely tragic. The music of electronic angst wilds through these poems of displacement and vicarious existence, through exposures that are reflective in both senses of the word: they encompass external mirrors of the self and ruminations that boil within. This is a poetry of info-shock confessions and blasted narrators in which urban glut and debris are compounded into monuments to nation-state and private soul, in which female space is both indeterminate and profligate. Suzanne Wise's work bristles with the struggle to define and comprehend the absurd component of evil and despair. -- Alice Fulton

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on February 5, 2000
Format: Paperback
I've read Suzanne Wise's book of poetry twice already and I bought it last week. Read "Planted Document," it is simply a stunningly inventive piece of work. Ms. Wise seems to melt together into an odd, blended writer taking the best aspects of the intellectual (the daring), feminist(the demand for sovreignty over her own destiny) and high poetic (the language, the language, the language) without the pitfalls of all three categories which can be described in one word: presciousness. She suffers this not at all. She is a harsh taskmaster on the world, forcing it to admit to and accept its shortcomings and gracelessness and then turns that same sharp inward to lacerate any chance she might buy into her own high-mindedness and true talent. Suzanne Wise deserves better than most poets ever get: she deserves to be read by everyone.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By flabbergasted poet on August 14, 2000
Format: Paperback
This is one of the most breathtaking, weird, original works of art I've ever read. It's like, "Wake up, boring poetry-world!" Wise is true to the crags and snarls of consciousness, while not sacrificing meaning and readability. Sharp, ruthless, and yet so full of heart this book is bloody. Nothing is spared from Wise's razorsharp observation and acupunctural penetration, especially not the "self" in these poems. Buy lots of copies of this book for all your friends, and lets all hope this frighteningly gifted poet writes fast, because this sad world needs as much of her as possible.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Ivy Kleinbart on May 2, 2005
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
The Kingdom of the Subjunctive distinguishes itself as a series of highly successful linguistic and formal experiments most active among the bruised inheritances of history. Narratives fly kamikaze through the rooms of an old house, spiral down the drain and travel underground through sewers before they rise back up to the surface of a neighborhood field turned parking lot. "On this trip, it is already too late: there's no avoiding/ the highway ahead, a one-way highway in a country/ of like-minded highways. There's nothing else to do/ but accelerate." While many of the poems in the book operate in the linguistic space of collage (only a few stepping outside narrative boundaries), Wise's narratives (though often surreal) generally maintain a sense of coherence, thus effecting a strong sense of urban and domestic confusion while still staying close to the reader. In "50 Years in the Career of an Aspiring Thug" (a prose poem in numbered sections), she chronicles the mundane progression of a life whose early antics include tying a girl to railroad tracks and pledging in a diary to "conquer," but whose later moments amount to a monotonous half-conscious cubical existence: "22. Wrote neat columns. 23. Of numbers. 24. Added with precision. 25. Punched. 26. The. 27. Clock. 28. The. 29. Clock. 30. The. 31. Clock."

Suzanne Wise shows her comfort with unrhymed couplets, but when she strays from this form, she does it with style. "A Girl's Life: in the Photo Album" consists of a four-lined poem in only 23 words with ample space allotted between the captions of what we realize must be missing photos meant to be imagined back into being. When Wise exposes her world's lacunae, it is always accompanied by a gesture toward amelioration and an invitation to the reader to participate in her project of reconciliation.
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