In her new collection, renowned publisher and poet Rebecca Wolff voyages in the myopia of American consumer consciousness—erotic regard, spiritual FOMO, gentrification, branding—without destination. Labyrinthine in their paradoxical musings and incisive in their witty recriminations, these poems grapple with the hubris and dysmorphia of the soul. Wolff is a poet that is unafraid to be a querent, not only of sages (“I only hang out with people / who are psychic / anything else is a / waste of precious / continuity”) but of language itself (“How else is one to know how to proceed / How is one to make a motion against— / electric word life”) In Slight Return, the journey is infinite and elusive—aspiring in the best way toward a point of diminishing returns and withholding any promise of a comfortable landing.
Wolff’s mind slithers from sales to sails, snagging on the twigs and rocks of self-criticism, scorn, anger, and post-marital rage....This ruminative and startling collection offers an incisive portrait of modern life.
Rebecca Wolff’s stunning new collection, Slight Return, attacks culture with a sharp knife of fragmented lines and lucid dreaming. Resisting definition, metaphor, and categorization, these poems take on the obsessions of the self, the terror of consumer culture, and fear of the unknown, all with extreme clarity of language. In Wolff’s poetic world, no words are wasted, no clause is excessive, and nothing is extraneous. She has trimmed down these poems, distilled them to their purest forms, and the result is a tincture that will cure the world of its ills.
Joanna Acevedo, Bridge Eight
Wolff’s is a staggered, halted lyric, set entirely within the present moment, and propelled by fits and starts and meditative exposition. There is such a sense of pause and pacing, line and line-break, along with her examination of attempting to reorient both the self and the writing through the writing; reworking a foundation, and keeping to small: the short phrase and the deft turn, quick and precise.
Rebecca Wolff is the author of five collections of poetry, one novel, and numerous pieces of occasional prose. Her first book, Manderley (University of Illinois Press, 2001), was selected for the National Poetry Series by Robert Pinsky. Her second, Figment (W. W. Norton & Company, 2005), was selected for the Barnard Women Poets Prize by Claudia Rankine and Eavan Boland. Her third, The King, was published by W. W. Norton in 2009. One Morning— was published by Wave Books in 2015. Slight Return was published by Wave Books in 2022. Her novel The Beginners was published by Riverhead in 2011. In 1998, Wolff founded the influential literary journal Fence; in 2001 she founded Fence Books and launched The Constant Critic website. Wolff lives in Hudson, New York, where she has served on the City Council and works in community development, with an emphasis on affordable housing and green trades training.
Publication: October 2022
ISBN# 9781950268658 (6x8.5 116pp, paperback)
ISBN# 9781950268665 (6x8.5 116pp, limited edition hardcover)