What to do with the everything crossing one’s path? Everything for and against, upside down and inside out, grief first then its dogged shadow which could be joy—if the haunting holds. Before a word is written there’s the going blank, okay, what now. There’s the turn off the TV, for god’s sake. But you might as well say turn off the world. And here comes poetry, the closest human form to silence, and look down—pieces on the ground.
In The Anti-Grief, Marianne Boruch picks up the pieces, assembling a new picture with whimsy and rigor. The poet’s adventurous spirit shows up in diction that shifts from casual to meticulous, and in syntax that moves away from sense just long enough to signal strangeness before returning to the curious, more straightforward dark at hand—merging ruin and wilderness, empire and instinct. This is a singular American poet writing at the height of her craft.
“Boruch refuses to see more than there is in things―but her patience, her willingness to wait for the film of familiarity to slip, allows her to see what is there with a jeweler’s sense of facet and flaw.” ―Poetry
“The Anti-Grief marks another astonishing addition to Boruch’s oeuvre… Here, the poems are corporeal in their orchestration of interconnected systems, and they move like bodies trained for leaping.” —AGNI
“Boruch places the exceptional within the mundane and the intimate within the universal, and above all highlights the present moment without ever losing sight of a broader context in which now is just one moment among many.” ―Publishers Weekly
“She sees and considers with intensity. Her poems often give fresh examples of how rare and thrilling it can be to notice.” ―Washington Post
“Boruch displays a quietly gymnastic intellect in the examinations of art, the body, and the human condition.” ―American Poets
“Her approach isn’t meant to fix or crystallize her ideas in any hard and fast light, but rather to present the music of her thinking… Boruch brings in personal memory and philosophical speculation, infusing much of this writing with slightly skewed skepticism and rueful uncertainty about one’s ability to be absolute about anything.” ―Trinity University Press
“…[T]he ordinary is so strange in her poems, the quotidian and the psychic colliding and mixing, in the same way that her language mixes, the way grief mixes with anti-grief; her style is like a jazz improvisation that always comes back, eventually, to its melodic line… The Anti-Grief, just as the title suggests, is a deeply thought-provoking work whose language penetrates into and charms the reader.” —The Lake
“[The Anti-Grief] is a book that not only reaffirms the singularity of Boruch’s oeuvre, but one that again generously invites us to look at and re-think the world as we know it—or think we know it—and then look again and listen as we puzzle out our unsteady present… The intelligence, power, and deft handling of nuance make this collection essential.”—Tupelo Quarterly