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No Chronology

In No Chronology, Karen Fish’s third collection of poems, she investigates those moments when the boundary of everyday life merges with history, imagination, and art. Fish was trained as a visual artist, and this way of seeing is intrinsic to her approach to poetry. Fish’s reflections on art and life speak to our common experiences, and her power to illuminate the subtle complexities of the world around us lies in her keen and compassionate observations. These poems invite us to join her in looking both at and beyond ourselves.
The outside world vanishes. No help comes.
Imagine, staring into the sun, then,
how the clouds spread out and open like wallets
over a few corrugated roofs.
Throughout this collection, Fish seeks truths about memory and loss, shame and redemption. She faces uncomfortable questions arising from our individual and collective actions, asking whether we are complicit in extinctions of species and how we reduce the humanity of prisoners by tying their identity to their crime. But these poems are also about naming life’s particular joys: driving in spring, walking through the woods with dogs, or hearing a child speak through the mail slot. They offer a space to encounter lyrical meditation as an experience in and of itself.

88 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2021

Phoenix Poets



"Must-Read Poetry: March 2021"

The Millions

“While Karen Fish eschews chronology is this most remarkable of books, she nonetheless provides an unsparing, deeply insightful account of an inner life. Told aslant, with exquisite lyricism and incandescent imagery, No Chronology is a beautiful, thrilling book of poems.”

Khaled Mattawa, author of Fugitive Atlas

“The angular, focused, gorgeous poems in No Chronology deal with big even lofty concerns in and through the smallest most grounded circumstances and detail. The poems deal with family disfunction, dislocation, addiction, romantic conflict, aging, and political violence in a style that’s as lyrically intense as narratively broad, in language that is fresh, idiosyncratic, and starkly vivid. The world Fish evokes so unforgettably remains recognizable as a literal world even while it’s irradiated with the white heat of subjectivity. This is a fantastic book.”

Alan Shapiro, author of Against Translation

Table of Contents

First Teacher
Ars Poetica
Location, Location
The Accounting
That Feeling
From the Road Walking
The Cistern
Flames Behind Your Head
Caravaggio’s The Calling of St. Matthew
The Round-Up
Seen from Far Away 
The Close of Winter
Depth of Field: Bruegel’s Hunters in the Snow
Black Bough
Evening Song
From Another Past, This Past 
Another Republic 
Do You Believe in the Afterlife?
The Kitchen 
The Dream
The Starfish
The Women’s Prison
The Greyhound
What We Need
The Stand-In
Driving in Spring

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