For James Richardson, poetry is speculative and serious play. By the Numbers captivates with its range of line and movement, its microlyrics, crypto-quatrains, and “ten-second essays,” its aphorisms that twist and snap. Drawing from myriad lore—Ovidian and Shakespearean, georgic and scientific—Richardson makes familiar scenes strange enough to provoke startling insights.
“[By the Numbers] is a feast in its variety; there is a range of forums wherein our narrator finds himself haunted and perplexed by his own disappearing life, by his own memories and losses. He tries to shape them into something like meaning. But in the end, he does not so much seek wisdom, but finds himself charmed by the idea of wisdom. He is compelled by human need. By the Numbers is a book of incredible sympathy.”—Coldfront
“[O]ne of America’s most distinctive contemporary poets.”—Boston Review
“James Richardson’s poetry is… unusual, quirky, person, and profound.”—The Threepenny Review
“Richardson is the best aphorist writing in English, and he’s a hell of a poet, too. Both forms are represented in this wonderful book.”—Publishers Weekly