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Distributed for New Issues Poetry & Prose

Hypergraphia and Other Failed Attempts at Paradise

A collection of poems that delve into the experience of living with bipolar disorder.
This collection of poetry explores the disruptive state of psychosis, with all its insights and follies, and the challenges of living life after a departure from the self. These poems reach for an understanding of the ecstasy and tragedy of madness through both lyric and prose forms that mimic the sublime state of mania through their engagement with language. Ordinary life becomes strange in these poems, which are playful and humorous at times and dark at others, as they seek resolution to the question of what happens when the mind overthrows the body.

104 pages | 6 x 8 1/2


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“‘You are not alone,’ writes the poet on her dedication page. That beautiful assurance is addressed in particular to ‘those who are struggling with mental illness,’ but it is something, these poems convince us, that each and every one of us may take to heart. So perfectly does Metsker render a mind under pressure—from a punishing surfeit of stimuli, obsessive thoughts, proliferating options in a world of impediment—that, paradoxically, we are deeply comforted. Logic—and its torqued economies—do the work we normally assign to images: ‘I scour the obituaries, but they have no specific plans for me.’ The images themselves are crystalline: ‘The sugar in the sugar bowl hardens into a rock to represent one idea of patience.’ I am profoundly grateful for this marvelous book. On page after page, it demonstrates how intelligence, compassion, and poetry can triumph over chaos.”

Linda Gregerson

“In her exploration of mental illness, Metsker reminds me that poets are natural chroniclers of the line between a mind’s inventiveness and its unmooring. For a poem to function, the figurative has to feel real. Poems that draw us into their irrationalities can allow us to reach more rational states and understandings. While in poetry there is often this leaving sense and coming back to it, with mental illness, there is a similar, more severe leaving but not always a return. ‘Tomorrow will be another story, another pause by the window that could turn into a lifetime wearing cinched jackets.’ Just the opposite of a straight jacket, this book reads as a liberation from the fear that a familiar self, once lost, cannot be regained. While it’s ‘hard to stick a landing in sand,’ to find a way to sense when sense has been taken away, Metsker has done just that.”

Bob Hicok

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