With breathtaking fervor, Sandra Simonds delivers an extended address to Orlando, which stands as both a city marked by vibrant promises fallen into betrayals and abuses and the specter of a past lover. Developing a series of recurring episodes and detailing an intricate network of relationships entangled in love, pain, anger, and compassion, this book boldly approaches personal trauma and memory in order to better understand the present.
Simonds employs her signature breathless momentum to great advantage, deciphering what connects people and how those connections can keep a person going even against his or her will. She entwines recollections of an unresolved relationship and the multifarious abuses of love with notions of the precarity of the present. But this is not a sob story; the poems exhibit self-awareness as they shift forward at furious speed. . . . An affecting collection that both befits and transcends its namesake city.
To read along with Orlando is to be gorgeously ensnared, because its long lines are so engorged with language, like the food of the Underworld, bait-like and nonnourishing. . . . Roped off, behind that velvet rope, the seer Simonds sings us, the readers, into the narcotic dream of her poem, its long and drowny and decadent lines. We’re in some scrambled, collapsed Platonic-cave-cum-Mallaremean-mer with nothing to erect a functional hierarchy except the addressee Orlando and his various doubles (Craig, Chris, the cops), phalluses which merely bob about in the swell when the real source of Art and crime is the radioactive chasm, is the poet’s throat of Simonds herself.
Joyelle McSweeney, Lana Turner
Orlando represents an incredible feat of poetic prowess by its breadth and by its representations of place, person, and truth. The book explores the most human moments of the systems within which we live—systems that layer, stack, take on new meanings. We are reminded of tragedy, violence, and sadness. Systems bring us interlocking moments of emotion, thought, and reaction. A microcosmic muse in a bubble of tropical noise, Orlando becomes a sequence that shatters with the breathing of a poet who has been broken but survives, a poet who accepts mutation of and transgression toward self.Relentless as a fever-dream. . . . Sandra Simonds’s Orlando moves intensely, nimbly, and with exacting intention. It recasts place, as well as the stories of the past and present, and the speaker who tells.
Greg Bem, Rain Taxi
The Arkansas International
The poetry here is so brutal in its language and so delicate in its form, the reader splits in half and bleeds everywhere. There was so much here to like—an epic poem (or two) that weaves through landscape, past lovers, and trauma; framed by impassioned renderings of the feminine experience as well as different iterations of Orlando (ie: as a person, past lover, City, Virginia Woolf, etc). A Fiery Work of Art!
Jared Levin, City Lights Bookseller
These are fast, exciting poems—they inject complex sinuous sentences with something approximating the hectic teenage aesthetic of the internet, where everything is immediate, brightly colored, unbearably intense, referentially-inclined (but with an ever-diminishing attachment to a referent), maybe a joke, deadly serious.
Kirsten Ihns, Chicago Review
Her Orlando is an address to the city and a lover; it is a narrative of relationships, love, domestic violence, labor, parenting, and confessional self-exploration; finally, it is a meditation on epic, poetry, history, and fantasy...Simonds’s language throughout is as lush as the places it describes, attuned to the textures and surfaces — the plants, fabrics, plastics, cocktails, waters, and humidity — of Florida.
Lindsay Turner, Los Angeles Review of Books
Sandra Simonds is the author of six books of poetry: Orlando, (Wave Books, 2018), Further Problems with Pleasure, winner of the 2015 Akron Poetry Prize (University of Akron, 2017), Steal It Back (Saturnalia Books, 2015), The Sonnets (Bloof Books, 2014), Mother Was a Tragic Girl (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2012), and Warsaw Bikini (Bloof Books, 2009). Her poems have been included in the Best American Poetry 2015 and 2014 and have appeared in the New York Times, Poetry, the American Poetry Review, the Chicago Review, Granta, Boston Review, Ploughshares, Fence, Court Green, and Lana Turner. She lives in Tallahassee, Florida and is an Associate professor of English and Humanities at Thomas University in Thomasville, Georgia.
Publication Date: April 3, 2018
ISBN# 9781940696607 (8x10 96pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781940696591 (8x10 96pp, limited edition hardcover)