When Caroline Crumpacker announces, “I give to thee this world of mine. Undone . . . Redone. . . ,” believe her. Her poetic interrogations of corporeality blast narrative pieties. Everything you thought you knew multiplies. These poems reconfigure sensation and understanding so that we can recognize more of our modular reactions to the world. Read her and thank her.
— GE Patterson
Caroline Crumpacker’s long-anticipated debut book of poems, Astrobolism, delivers a tour-de-force of pleasure and principle. Its poetry dissects, strokes and unveils felt and thought experience with an almost essayistic flair that sparks across the page. Think Dorothy Parker, Elizabeth Bishop and Marianne Moore with a child and a job in an era when “death is coming in all wrong” and “where the sky burns with production.” Reading Crumpacker’s work is an experience at once mercurial, enlightening and like meeting an astute and loving friend for coffee where “it’s OK to talk this way” as in poetry.
— Lee Ann Brown
In these profound yet seductively ethereal poems, Caroline Crumpacker homes in on the tragic paradoxes of contemporary life: to gain is not always to have; knowledge does not equal safety; providing for our children might imperil the future of our kind. Though the poems could be called political, they would more accurately be described as metaphysical. How the material and spiritual come together and diverge—how we make between our bodies and our minds some sort of meaning. “The history of the body as a solitude/ rather than an infinitude,” she writes. Poems here are elegies and odes; many are aubades: a new day, a new morning (or mourning). To talk about this book is to talk about the human, and to talk about the human is to talk about the world. We live in a beautiful world. Caroline Crumpacker has written an incomparably beautiful (and also deeply mournful) book.
— Katy Lederer
If Caroline Crumpacker’s Astrobolism was a dinner party, it would be one in which everyone’s clothing is worn inside out revealing the trace of every single hand that contributed to its manufacture. The gallantries elicited by swag conversation would turn riotous without warning, because every noun would be in a state of perpetual derailment, slipping and siding around into the displacement that underlies any mechanism of understanding. Guests would create astounding works of brilliant art only to be toppled by the revelation of its impact on the fevered footprint of the earth’s extinction. Everyone’s grief would be freely expressed; everyone’s outrage perfectly aligned with an end point. And all of this would be happening on a fast moving train because “Home is everywhere. Departure is everywhere.” And everyone is invited, because everyone is already here. So go ahead, read this book and while you’re at it, ravish the diminutive enter the body-tastic and go go go.
— Kristin Prevallet
Caroline Crumpacker lives with her daughter Coco and her partner Roberto Rossi in Red Hook, NY. A bit further upstate, she runs The Millay Colony for the Arts, an artists’ residency program and arts center. Caroline was a founding Poetry Editor of Fence magazine, an editor of the French/American online magazine DoubleChange, and a contributing editor for Circumference magazine. She is currently a member of the Belladonna* Collaborative, and she is the author of the chapbooks Recherche Theories (Etherdome Press, 2010), The Institution in Her Twilight (Dusie Kollektiv, 2011) and Upon Nostalgia (Belladonna*, 2011). Her poetry, translations, essays, and reviews have also appeared in numerous magazines and anthologies including The Talisman Anthology of Contemporary Chinese Poetry (Talisman, 2008), American Poets in the 21st Century: The New Poetics (Wesleyan University Press, 2007), Not For Mothers Only (Fence Books, 2007), and Love Poems by Younger American Poets (Verse Press, 2004).