From Publishers Weekly
Always wry and often startling and whimsical, this first selected from Equi (Surface Tension
) gathers poems from more than two decades. Fascinated with popular culture and gender—from glossy women's magazines to New York streetscapes—and with the bare bones of ordinary language, Equi's short, usually short-lined, poems navigate territory framed by Robert Creeley, Rae Armantrout and Emily Dickinson. "I make decisions/ or my body/ makes them for me," Equi concludes. Alongside such lapidary self-portraits come pithy claims about perception, attraction and bias: "The beautiful/ and the hideous// often conspire/ in an empire/ of appearance." There are also sets of epigrams; poems arranged as terse outlines and lists; and moments of bitter humor, often at the expense of previous art. In "Pre-Raphaelite Pinups," "The wallpaper is the real center of attention,/ the figures mostly background music." Forty-seven new poems only rarely match the best of Equi's '90s work, though any disappointment should be slight: "At some point/ while still living/ here/ I had already/ moved away." (Apr.)
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About the Author
Equi's succinct, witty, and innovative work has been widely published, appearing in the The New Yorker, Norton's Postmodern American Poetry, and four recent volumes of The Best American Poetry. A central figure in Chicago's poetics scene during the 70s and 80s, she now lives in New York where she teaches at City College, New School and NYU.