The To Sound

By Eric Baus
Publication date: March 1, 2004

ISBN# 9780972348744 (6x8 80pp, paperback)

  • “Birds with extremely long necks. Cassiopeia. A sister. A Marco Polo. A somnambulist. A documentary on the voyages of Columbus. A cartographer. Star charts. Young intellectuals in black robes. Jean-Michel Basquiat. More birds and still more birds. A mathematician. All these things appear in The To Sound’s beautifully warped cosmology. This is a stunning book that builds its own world, a world of ambiguous relations and loaded words; a lyrical world that explores the unstated connections between things. If de Chirico was a poet... if Satie was a poet... if Maya Deren was a poet... and if they collaborated together, they might have written this book.” —Juliana Spahr

    Winner of the 2002 Verse Prize, selected by Forrest Gander

  • Baus writes of a place somewhere in space that is at once in our world and existing alongside side of it. Where one expects a thing of this world, in its place, in the line, on the page, there is some other thing that delightfully trips one up while reading. Like this: “If I say my eyes are quotation marks pulled across the sky, I mean the way a beaten wing is parallel to treading water.” Oh, of course. That’s what I’m talking about. Poetry with a kick. It is not clean. It is not easy or pretty. But it is quite a ride.
    Olivia Cronk, Bookslut

    Like a synaesthete for whom numbers might evoke a certain color, months a particular taste, or the alphabet’s letters a specific smell, Baus uses the full palette of the body to bring the inner and outer world into provisional alignment. The body becomes the syntax that holds sense together.
    Mitchum Huehls, Double Room

    Arranged as a quasi-epistolary collection of five long poems, The To Sound revels in lyrical language and syntactical displacement as it maps a unique and humanly occupied universe. Aspects of longing and repeated failed articulation, or the attempt at untangling what was said as opposed to what was heard or intended, are woven throughout the book. ... Selected by Forrest Gander for the Verse Prize, The To Sound is an impressive debut.
    Jane Sprague, Rain Taxi

    By the originality of his language and its tangible desire to connect to--without defining or owning--the Other, Baus’s work moves in a manner wholly opposed to sentimentality; such work as this, in fact, is its antidote. . . The To Sound hums in the ear of the reader open to hearing it, loa and lobe, known and unknowable, its whispers sounding (like Whitman’s sea birds before it), want want want. I desire, therefore you are: Thee, to sound into being.
    Michael Tod Edgerton, Mantis (Issue 7)

    The To Sound is not so much a collection that expects us to derive pleasure solely from rhythm and sound any more than it expects its meaning to be transparent through language. It is, rather, an illumination of the nature of language, of looking, and of listening.
    Monica Fambrough, Octopus Magazine

  • Eric Baus was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana in 1975. His publications include Tuned Droves (Octopus Books, 2009), The To Sound (Verse Press, 2004; Winner of the 2002 Verse Prize, selected by Forrest Gander), and the chapbooks The Space Between Magnets (Diaeresis), A Swarm In The Aperture (Margin to Margin), and Something Else The Music Was (Braincase Press). He edits Minus House chapbooks, and currently lives in Denver.

Tags: Eric Baus, Verse

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