By Geoffrey G O'Brien
Publication Date: September 3, 2013
ISBN# 978-1-933517-72-8 (5 1/4 x 8 128p)
In his most autobiographical collection to date, Geoffrey G. O’Brien explores—via the ‘promise of happiness’ in great works of art—the dream of a working freedom not relegated to a seventh day of rest. Crossing traditional poetic materials with contemporary political struggles, O’Brien leads the reader to a space of emergent voices and captures the complex feelings of the present.
This [collection] proves to be an intriguing, thoughtful, and ambitiously layered collection, drawing from the past to hold a mirror to the present.
Publishers Weekly (Starred Review)
My first read through Geoffrey O’Brien’s new collection, People on Sunday, induced a kind of dazzled bafflement...After a second and third reading, I find that O’Brien’s most urgent theme is the difficulty of writing public-spirited poetry at a time when “the poem / Is now believed to be the most distant / Object ever seen.” You might think this would make for a poetry of despair or irony, but oftentimes it’s just the opposite: “We decided to rebuild our home again / In the intermittent sun, strangers with arms / Linked to protect the thing behind them.”
Robyn Creswell, the Paris Review
With previous work, O'Brien (Metropole, Green and Gray) was applauded for his masterful deployment of contemporary avant-garde and traditional formal devices, but the new book is formally looser...As for the actual words, there's nothing here of the red-hot rhetorical pikes typical of resistance poetry. The lines are even-tempered with a sobriety that's almost grim, then almost serene.
Jena Cutie, Chicago Review
O’Brien’s book is demanding and wrestling with it becomes a form of labor. However, the outcome of that labor belongs entirely to the reader… and when the reader is finally calibrated to the poet’s frequency, an authentic delight sets in, and one begins to feel less like they’re being trained by the poet and more like they’re being spoken to by him.
John Ebersole, The Philadelphia Review of Books
O’Brien’s project is to reconnect us in some crucial ways with the mundane and isolating spaces of our own real lives, from which caring about politics and generally being a more aware subject – even whilst driving home from work – can start.
Eliot D'Silva, Lemon Hound
The poem...wants to include every passerby, shed all decorum, speak to every lost stranger. Mr. O’Brien is interested in what it would take to connect beyond our networked selves, and what keeps us from doing so.
Drew Calvert, American Reader
What does it mean to be caught in a system of repetitions, and how can such a system create space for the possibility of change? This is one of the issues at stake in Geoffrey G. O’Brien’s newest book of poetry.
Kirsten Lew, Wave Composition
To read O’Brien is to take pleasure in the determinism that prods our indeterminism forward through time. To read O’Brien is to experience experiencing in an experienced way.
Kent Shaw, The Rumpus
Geoffrey G. O'Brien is the author of People on Sunday (Wave Books, 2013). He is also the author of Metropole (2011), Green and Gray (2007), and The Guns and Flags Project (2002), all from The University of California Press. His chapbooks include Hesiod (Song Cave, 2010), and Poem with No Good Lines (Hand Held Editions, 2010). He is the coauthor (with John Ashbery and Timothy Donnelly) of Three Poets: Ashbery, Donnelly, O’Brien (Minus A Press, 2012) and (in collaboration with the poet Jeff Clark) of 2A (Quemadura, 2006). O’Brien is an Associate Professor in the English Department at UC Berkeley and also teaches for the Prison University Project at San Quentin State Prison.n.
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