The Way Out
The Way Out
“There’s a terrible purity to the desolation from which many of these poems emerge. They emerge with unlacquered finality. Their gaze is pitiless. Cumulatively, Sewell’s poems possess great weight and power. In this ferocious book you will find the consolation of something seen deeply, the consolations of art.”
Available in print.
Lisa Sewell is also the author of Name Withheld (Four Way Books 2006) and co-editor (with Claudia Rankine) of American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics (Wesleyan UP 2007). She has received grants and awards from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts, the National Endowment for the Arts, the Leeway Foundation and the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown. She teaches in the English Department at Villanova University and lives in Philadelphia.
“In her collection, The Way Out, Lisa Sewell grapples with metaphorical and literal hungers with a magnetic density. Frank Bidart writes that Sewell offers a ‘terrible purity’ fashioned out of the ‘desolation’ her poems work through, poems with ‘great weight and power.’ I concur. We encounter an intelligent, elegant, darkly honest poet who feeds our eyes, ears, mind, and heart.”
“Sewell searches for what lies beneath her own humanity: her capacity for violence and love; what one’s ‘nature’ determines about oneself; and how the mind and spirit can exist willingly with the ‘knowledge that we are hopelessly enclosed / by the measure of our skins.’ . . . Sewell’s debut collection The Way Out, is a very fine read.”
“Lisa Sewell’s poetry brings to mind Keats’ phrase, ‘thinking through the heart.’ More than any young poet writing today, her work frames an urgency shot through with history as she builds a model of consciousness, original, strange. These poems enact a lyric muscle that explodes narrative, throws it wonderfully off track into new regions of feeling, thought, experience.”
“‘We are hopelessly enclosed by the measure of our skins,’ Lisa Sewell writes. The argument at the heart of this book is whether the body is a source of hopelessness or of hope. ‘I put my faith in the physical,’ Sewell tells us, but she understands how belief necessitates doubt, only existing beside it. Focused and accomplished, this fine debut collection is a fierce and engaging quarrel with the fact of flesh.”
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