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Distributed for Carnegie Mellon University Press

All the Hanging Wrenches

A book of poems that embody quiet triumph.

In the wry and tender poems of Barbara Edelman’s All the Hanging Wrenches, we encounter creatures both wild and domestic; family, friends, strangers, and history, all deftly transfigured through poignant turns of phrase. Edelman’s delight in wordplay is contagious. Time and the boundaries of memory are fluid amid adventures, reflection, and the glorious contradictions that are real life. “At the shoreline where waves flowed through windows in rock, we rode in and came out changed, our brains full of ocean,” Edelman writes. With great good humor and sadness in equal portion, this is a book of quiet triumph in which all the ghosts abide.

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“The terrific, Barbara Edelman styled ode holds the scrutiny of a Wislawa Szymborska image and the charm of a Chuck Kinder sentence. It treks inner and outer landscapes, landscapes of song and silence, of immediacy and memory. The spirit of toughness wires every one of these wonderful poems, along with a mischievous candor that stokes trust and intimacy. All the Hanging Wrenches is rooted in the brilliance of Edelman’s debut collection, but the wiring lights up whole new parts of the mind.”

Terrance Hayes, MacArthur Fellow & National Book Award Winner, author of American Sonnets for my Past and Future Assassin

“If you’re lucky and have been among a crowd mesmerized by Barbara Edelman’s voice, comic timing, and knowingness—a knowingness both cutting and botanical, like a great gin—then you have some idea what awaits you here. These poems prowl and slink. They gambol; they are ruminant; they encircle you and explode, finally, into elegy. There should be much more time, the poems say without saying, ‘to sleep brilliantly, pay attention.; Edelman is a gem.”

Joy Katz, author of All You Do is Perceive, The Garden Room, and Fabulae

All the Hanging Wrenches, is a spiraling, circling odyssey through languages, the globe, the besieged natural world, and the human life cycle. ‘Each trek has its own syntax.’ These poems nudge beauty out of fog, distances, and noise; they take stock of loss, aging, dreamed and lived realities—each hewing its own syntax marked by flint-struck images, mordant humor, and surprising diction and detail. There are too many taps on the sternum enacted by these poems to list; Edelman’s poetic toolbox has been put to stunning use in constructing this work.” 

Ellen McGrath Smith, author of Nobody’s Jackknife and Scatterfeed

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