Recognized for his “wildly original” poetry and his “uncanny and unparalleled ability to blend lyric and narrative,” Atsuro Riley deepens here his uncommon mastery and tang. In Heard-Hoard, Riley has “razor-exacted” and “raw-wired” an absorbing new sequence of poems, a vivid weavework rendering an American place and its people.
At once an album of tales, a portrait gallery, and a soundscape; an “inscritched” dirt-mural and hymnbook, Heard-Hoard encompasses a chorus of voices shot through with (mostly human) histories and mysteries, their “old appetites as chronic as tides.” From the crackling story-man calling us together in the primal circle to Tammy figuring “time and time that yonder oak,” this collection is a profound evocation of lives and loss and lore.
96 pages | 2 halftones | 7 1/4 x 9 1/4
"Riley creates a uniquely American idiom—expressive, earthy, and flat-out dazzling—that will slake and succor readers for many years to come."
World Literature Today
"No one in American poetry has a voicebox quite like Atsuro Riley’s—trained by ear on a mother’s native Japanese, the raised vowels of the South Carolina Lowcountry, and Gerard Manley Hopkins’s hyphen-happy, consonant-crowded compounds. In his second collection, Riley lends his inimitable instrument to boyhood acquaintances and communal complaints: 'We come gnawed by need on hands and knees.'"
Boston Globe, Best Books of 2021
"Riley's oeuvre breaks new lyric ground with its singular style. This rich, polyphonic collection will keep readers entranced."
"The essential collection of our moment—what we’ve needed most without knowing it."
Jesse Nathan | McSweeney's
“The collection calls us back to the roots of language, breaking it apart and putting it back together. Riley’s inventiveness is an invitation to notice language’s connection to the natural world, both equally complex and beautiful.”
"Riley captures the accents of his hardscrabble world through language worked to a country eloquence."
David Woo | Poetry Foundation
"A superb book about people attempting to make a life together in America. . . .This book is crucial to contemporary American poetry right now because it shows a lyric poet of unique formal gifts doing something we’d usually expect from a great novelist—exploring and fully rendering our striving to give shape and meaning to our lives together—all while maintaining the force and subtlety of his lyric gift."
Peter Campion | Adroit Journal
"The strongest new book of poetry this year. . . . Magnificent. . . . a long-awaited and satisfying book."
Bookworm, Top Ten Books 2021
“A landscape charged with the bright light of discernment, where emotions are stirred by rhythmic torsion and sonic density.”
Julie Carr, judge, Alice Fay di Castagnola Award from the Poetry Society of America
"Intoxicating. . . Sounds unheard and unrivaled since Atsuro Riley’s acclaimed debut permeate Heard-Hoard. His elegant rhythms are atmospheric and robust, his neologisms transform the 'weed-embrangling snuffle-path,' his vernacular is magical as 'dew-sparks galaxifying the crabgrass.' Amid each mesmerizing reading, like dancing to a good song for a good long time before truly hearing its lyrics, Heard-Hoard’s remarkable stories crystallize; music becomes narrative. Atsuro Riley is an extraordinary poet. This book holds all the meanings of fantastic."
"Magnificently singular. If evocation of place, however pungent, were the main thing in Riley’s work I wouldn’t be very interested. But he’s pursuing something a lot more ambitious, even abstract, that has deeply to do with, I almost want to say, sacred properties of language or language that could cast a spell against harm. He needs to make big sense; he has the deep confidence it takes to press language hard—not for self-amusement but to hear something he is desperate to hear."
"The category of the 'mythic' has been much cheapened by overuse, but Atsuro Riley’s Heard-Hoard restores the term to its original and originary power. The English language has rarely been so richly augmented in such little space."
"One of the most exciting books of poetry I've read in my life."
Michael Silverblatt, host, "Bookworm"
"In these pages, Riley creates a uniquely American idiom—expressive, earthy, and flat-out dazzling—that will slake and succor readers for many years to come."
World Literature Today
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