Oubliette

By Peter Richards
Publication Date: May 1, 2001

ISBN# 9780970367228 (5.5x8.5 78pp)

  • See a man all broken in threes.
    At this hour his horse of changing names.
    It is so much sweating out beads that gleam with the look of your face.


    “It is inscrutable how Peter Richards produces this religious magma and bathes himself and us in it. How he restores internal time to the work of art.”—Tomaž Šalamun

  • This harrowing, beautiful first volume shows a modern audience what spiritual autobiography would look like were it written without the consolations of an everlasting soul... Richards’ sculptor’s sense of language makes desperation and nullity into materials to be carved, molded and welded into figures of wonder... tempered throughout by an immense tenderness toward words themselves... Self-elegy, ars poetica, classical love poetry, and prayer are the registers of Richards’ voice...
    Srikanth Reddy, Denver Quarterly

    For Richards, life in a poem is like life in a body; most at risk, and most fully itself, when at play... it’s not so much that syntax focuses language as that it focuses the reader. Along with his cat’s paw sense of diction, it allows him to brew up a tonal soup that is one part tenderness, one part comic slyness, and one part awe. And it suggests that his range as a poet will be wide and continually surprising.
    David Rivard, Ploughshares

    Emotional poverty and a yearning for freedom are the leitmotivs in Oubliette. The poems delve into the darkness of actual and imagined fears, of loss and isolation, and they propose the possibility of redemption.
    Duncan Sprattmoran, ForeWord Magazine

  • Peter Richards was born in 1967 in Urbana, Illinois. He is a recipient of a Massachusetts Cultural Council Grant in Poetry, an Iowa Arts Fellowship, an Academy of American Poets Prize, and the John Logan Award. His poems have appeared in Agni, Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Fence, The Yale Review, and other journals. He is the author of Oubliette (Verse Press, 2001), which won the Massachusetts Center for the Book Honors Award, Nude Siren (Verse Press, 2003), and Helsinki (Action Books, 2011).



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