Midwood 8

Jana Prikryl

Out of the sheath dressgently hopping, sparrow in the lot belowin the great complacency of summerpressing down, waves of itwhat can the plants do but endure this closenessthe trees, their varieties, and ivy, nameless shrubsand hedges, no one speaks their namesonly flowers get that nod and certain grassesso that when a day of cooler breath in Julyairs out the neighborhood you feelfor a moment the rustling in lindens, oaks, sycamoresas they sense what's been withheldfor months, that's when the mature onesrustle it off, slip almostsexily out of that dress, unbearableto feel such potential against one's skin

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Jana Prikryl’s third book of poems, Midwood, will be published in August 2022. Her previous collections are The After Party (2016) and No Matter (2019). She has received a Guggenheim Fellowship, a Radcliffe Fellowship, and an Award in Literature from the American Academy of Arts and Letters. Prikryl was born in the Czech Republic and grew up in Canada from the age of six. She now lives in Brooklyn and is an editor of The New York Review of Books.

"Jana Prikryl is a poet of unique gifts: unexpected images, ingenious syntax, and wide-ranging erudition. But whereas others might have settled for armored virtuosity, she has created something rarer and more original—a voice that is witty, ironic, and despairing in the manner of her great Eastern European predecessors and fused with dazzling linguistic agility. Or freedom, we might say. A mutation not unlike Nabokov’s in the vast playground of the English language."
— Louise Glück, winner of the Nobel Prize in literature

"The poems in Jana Prikryl’s third collection are restless and radiant. In this idyllic landscape of lounge and scatter, home is over rooftops and snowbanks, across time and overseas. Midwood is as much voyage as daydream. I can’t wait to read it again."
— francine j. harris

"At the heart of Midwood is a violent curiosity that details of the world are drawn into, reemerging changed. Prikryl creates atmosphere with unnerving speed—these poems are almost gothic, though their mood is entirely of the present, and individually they soon had me in their thrall. But the book as a whole is something else again. Finishing it feels like surfacing from a film, a novel, a dream, a series of dreams circling a source ‘refusing to give us / the key because there was no key.’ Midwood is a strange, thrilling collection from a singular voice."
— Karen Solie

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