09 July 2008

Hot off the Press: Other Latitudes

You have no idea how excited I am that Brian Brodeur's first book, Other Latitudes, has just arrived at the University of Akron Press. This is the first book to come out since I became editor, and it looks wonderful. Here's my sneak peek at the book, and some information about it below. You can order a copy directly from the Press (we're efficient and super easy to order from), or elsewhere.

Shiny red leather makes every book look even more delicious, doesn't it?

If the 600+ manuscripts in my office didn't do the trick, this certainly makes the new gig sink in.


Attempting to repair the fissures of everyday life, Brian Brodeur negotiates the psychological distances between desire and disgust, humor and catastrophe, banality and dream. The poems of Other Latitudes begin in the realm of personal experience, and expand into larger territories of cultural narcissism and political blindness. These poems meditate on the tenuous relationship between artist and subject, the curiosities of self-inflicted wounds, and the presence of hope in a landscape that is intrinsically scarred. Brodeur’s debut illustrates the conflict between inner lives and their outward appearances, with an eye turned to the unforgiving natural world. ~Mary Biddinger, Editor of The Akron Series in Poetry


In Other Latitudes, Brian Brodeur’s excellent and finely measured first collection, he writes, “Light moves across the counter, almost touching her hand, / shattering over an open drawer of knives.” It is an image typical of his ability to yoke the beautiful and the dangerous, and offer them to us without prejudice; in fact, with an equilibrium that bespeaks an inclusive, clear-eyed engagement with the world. Brodeur’s world is one of layers and shadings. His diction is limpid and precise, his ear a fine-tuned instrument for registering nuance. And when he writes about nature, he’s equally adept, employing a vocabulary that does what the best nature writing can do: reinvigorate its subject. The aster, for example, “spreads its spiny / roots through chaff, unfurls / in cold clusters, tussocks / shaking, feeds / on ditch water, the sweet / decay found there.” I’m pleased to have found such poems, and such a talent. ~Stephen Dunn

Brian Brodeur’s impressive collection, Other Latitudes, begins with a calving, a miracle and its aftermath, and then advances its taxonomy of suffering and violence, pleasure and shame, murder, thievery, and pure erotic joy. These are poems of intelligent emotional complexity—tenderness for the blind and widowed deer hunter, a harrowing sympathy for a cutter’s self-mutilation, a nuanced appreciation of the frisson between artist and figure model, recognitions of the banality of funerals, and the unanticipated guilt in recounting what is endured in cities under siege. The language under Brodeur’s pen is as startling as his poems are wise. This book is more than a debut—it is the work of an already mature and accomplished poet. ~Carolyn Forché

Reading Brian Brodeur, I am reminded of St. Augustine’s assertion that “To blame the fault of a creature is to praise its essential nature.” In the lyric narratives of his debut collection, Other Latitudes, which is urgent, evocative, and, at times, disturbing, Brodeur shows us that the wide expanse of the heart is rife with flaw and error and in showing us its flaw, praises it. Human relationships—the tragic and the comedic—are his subject and he testifies to their essential vitality and complexity with a capacious wit, a quick intelligence, and an enduring generosity. ~Eric Pankey

Brian Brodeur was born in Worcester, Massachusetts. His poems have appeared in Crab Orchard Review, Gettysburg Review, Margie, Meridian, New Orleans Review, Pleiades, River Styx, Smartish Pace, and the anthology Best New Poets 2005 (Samovar Press, 2005). Brian is the author of So the Night Cannot Go on without Us (2007), winner of the Fall 2006 White Eagle Coffee Store Press Chapbook Contest. Other Latitudes is his first full-length collection. Brian lives and works in Fairfax, Virginia.


Jay Robinson said...

Nice descriptive copy!!!!

The book looks great.

I'll bet that feel welcomely strange to have your name on the book as the Editor of the Series.

Penultimatina said...

Isn't it gawgeous?

I think I'll buy a copy just so I can EAT it.

newzoopoet said...

Oh how tempting!

Leslie said...

Congrats on your first book as editor! May it be the first of many delicious enough to eat!

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