Sight Lines

Arthur Sze

In his National Book Award-winning tenth collection Sight Lines, Arthur Sze lends the reader his prismatic lens, rendering contemporary reality in stunning complexity. Moments of grace, eros, and beauty are braided with shudders of terror and threats of ecological destruction, as Sze moves nimbly through intersections of the disparate and divergent. Using formal disruption, legible erasure, and a diversity of voices—lichen on a ceiling, salt on the table, a man behind on his rent—each page transmutes simplicity into simultaneity, and chaos into compelling song. Sze is a Pulitzer finalist and a widely-revered poet, whose exquisite craft continues to expand our view: there are “so many / worlds to this world.”

ISBN: 9781556595592

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Arthur Sze has published ten books of poetry, including Sight Lines (2019), which won the National Book Award. His other books include Compass Rose (2014), a Pulitzer Prize finalist; The Ginkgo Light (2009), selected for the PEN Southwest Book Award and the Mountains and Plains Independent Booksellers Association Book Award; Quipu (2005); The Redshifting Web: Poems 1970–1998, selected for the Balcones Poetry Prize and the Asian American Literary Award; and Archipelago (1995), selected for an American Book Award. He has …

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“Inside these poems of billowing consciousness, we too are alive to a spectrum of wonders.” —New York Times

“These new poems are stronger yet and by confronting time head on, may best stand its tests.” ―Literary Hub

“With a vast command of different fields of inquiry at his fingertips, Sze is able to construct poems brimming with meticulous perceptions, history, science, philosophy, and more, all while reaching unexpected insights. These are the poems of a person alive to the vastness of the landscape he inhabits (New Mexico and what the sky above it contains), to the threads of history (from deep time to the recent past), and the fluctuations of personal experience. What elevates these poems even higher is that they never settle into anecdote or description; they turn vision into the visionary. Sze is one of the finest poets of his generation and his work is finally getting the attention it has long merited.” —John Yau, Hyperallergic

“The wonders and realities of the world as seen through travel, nature walks, and daily routine bring life to the poems in Sight Lines.” ―Library Journal

“Sze artfully matches style and content… Finely crafted and philosophical, this is a book that rewards multiple careful readings.” ―Publishers Weekly

“His poems enact the prodigious multiplicity and simultaneity of any one moment. The best way to show this may be to offer his technique in action, particularly evident in the title poem, in which time, place, danger, culpability, and desire blur and turn into one another in a temporal, sensory frisson.” —Virginia Quarterly Review

“… dazzling poems of connectivity and multiplicity…” —Vulture

“An absolute marvel that is set to dazzle your notion of attention.” —Poetry & Poets

“[Sze] brings together disparate realms of experience―astronomy, botany, anthropology, Taoism―and observes their correspondences with an exuberant attentiveness.” ―New Yorker

“Sze’s is a deeply humanist and erotic sensibility, utilizing an unadorned diction and language steeped in the metaphoric possibilities that exist for us by mere dint of being human.” ―Eric P. Elshtain, Chicago Review

“Arthur Sze is a demanding and valuable poet… While the influence of Eastern poetry is usually felt in American poetry as imagism, in Sze’s poems, that tradition is present not just as a quality of perception, but of thought—made available to us in all its complexity through a precision of language so refined that it feels like marksmanship.” ―Jacqueline Osherow, Antioch Review

“… a glory of images, layerings, and repetitions.” —Terrain


National Book Award for Poetry, 2019