“Purpura’s charming [third collection]…captures both the fierce love and the flighty weirdness of life with a baby, opting always for the symbolic and the surprising over the literal record…”
Available in print.
Lia Purpura is the author of seven collections of essays, poems, and translations, including On Looking (a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in nonfiction) and most recently, Rough Likeness. Her awards include a 2012 Guggenheim Foundation Fellowship, the National Endowment for the Arts and Fulbright Fellowships, and four Pushcart Prizes. Her work appears in The New Yorker, The New Republic, Orion, and Paris Review. She is Writer-in-Residence at Loyola University, Baltimore, Maryland and teaches in the Rainier Writing Workshop in Tacoma, Washington.
“This book-length sequence is reminiscent of poems by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück, with its hypnotic voice and its otherworldly reach.”
“In King Baby…Purpura uses the physical as a conduit to the metaphysical; and circles this found fetish in ever-more-incisive gyres, to probe the never-satisfied nature of human yearning…She is particularly effective at distilling those elusive slithers of creative clarity we sometimes experience in our daily lives…Purpura is a wordsmith of the highest order…”
—Susan McCallum-Smith, WYPR Radio
“The poems are exquisitely tender and reverent, each temporarily holding emptiness in place with images and stories, each looking for something that can stand for holiness.”
“The poems in King Baby are both folk tales and found objects: every line reaches the page like Pushkin’s talking goldfish. A child’s discovery of a hand-carved totem frees Purpura from the daily rounds of semiotics. Like the Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelof’s work, every poem in this collection reminds us that we are each still newly placed among the living.”
“‘The story of your creation starts/with a force that wanted something,’ Lia Purpura writes, ‘and worked to see if you were it.’ A myth of motherhood, a parable of artistic creation, a suite of hymns to an ambiguous emblem, this compelling, Orphic sequence pushes deeply into its chosen vehicle, seeking the difference between song and hunger.”
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