Boxes are hoaxes of the imagination,
they fold out backwards
and proceed to foreclose themselves
from the other side
Of Nikolayev’s accomplished first book, Robert Kelly writes: “Nothing escapes his formal insistence to renew... A wild, generous book, full of invention.”
Winner of the 2001 Verse Prize, selected by Lyn Hejinian
These are poems that are riveting for the immediacy and urgency of a language that draws deeply upon the springs of language, while inventing new idioms to make us feel the world that we live in. They are full of lines ‘that cause tears to flow / and cheers to follow’ (‘Boxes’). Throughout, Nikolayev is relentlessly resourceful, finding ways to, in Eliot’s famous words, ‘dance / Like a dancing bear, / Cry like a parrot, chatter like an ape.’ The message is urgent. It is possible to be fully alive. This is poetry with ears.
Ben Mazer, Jacket Magazine
Reading Nikolayev you become acutely aware of three things: firstly, you are encountering a man of many talents with a good intellect and mischievous sense of humour; secondly, your formal, rhythmic and semantic expectations are being tested; and, thirdly, that you are lifting the cover on an entrance to the Tower of Babel, where English though clearly recognisable sounds strangely foreign.
John Couth, Shearsman 62
Philip Nikolayev lives in Cambridge, Massachusetts, with his wife, the poet Katia Kapovich, and their daughter Sophia. His collections of poems are Monkey Time (Verse Press, 2003, winner of the 2001 Verse Prize) and Letters from Aldenderry (Salt Publishing, 2006). He co-edits Fulcrum: an annual of poetry and aesthetics. His poems have also appeared in such journals as The Paris Review, Grand Street, Verse, Stand, Jacket, and many others.
Publication Date: June 1, 2003
ISBN# 9780970367297 (6x9 99pp, paperback)