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Lilies Without
Laura Kasischke
$14.00 paperback
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Lilies Without
Laura Kasischke



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Lilies Without is Laura Kasischke’s seventh volume of poetry. Widely admired for her startling use of metaphor and her nervy, surprising syntax, she continues in this book to peel back the skins of our ordinary lives to reveal the underlying anxieties and complexities. Funny, irreverent, personal, and at the same time unnerving, these poems take us to familiar places made entirely strange so that we may see them again as they really are, without the trappings and disguises we invent so as to remain blind to what disturbs us. Few poets write about parenthood with the combination of tenderness and steely insight that Kasischke brings to her work. Of this quality, Jonathan Weinert has written that [Kasischke] “succeeds in joining a fiercely personal self-reckoning to a searching intelligence within a heightened and authentic suburban idiom.

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For Lilies Without, Laura Kasischke

“... the poems in Laura Kasischke’s Lilies Without, achieve their ends by revealing the deeper (and darker) implications of everyday life, messing with our notions of the domestic and the sacred. Kasichke’s poems are powered by a skillful use of image and the subtle, ingenious way she turns a phrase... In some of these poems she takes beauty queens as her subject, only to turn that iconic figure of American optimism on its head... Lured ahead by Kasischke’s patented casual lyric, we find ourselves surprised by the heat of the implications that follow.”Austin American-Statesman

“... If Kasischke’s poems get half the attention they deserve, they will be praised... not just for their music, but for their demographically representative qualities: for the way they capture the excitements and the anxieties of a generation just after that generation realizes that it, too, has entered adulthood, that its teens are a memory and its mortgage a burden. Kasischke is—should be celebrated as—the poet of high school cliques remembered and terminal wards observed, of “the cigarette lighter’s dangerous eye,” of “a dead mouse / under the kitchen counter” with “a postcard of the cosmos in its eye.” She is the poet of the prom in the past, the cocktail party next week, and the nursing home in the future, the poet of strollers in driveways and the “Credit Card in My Hand,” from the collection Dance and Disappear. She is the poet of walking out of a walk-in closet certain that the wrong choice will ruin your evening (see “Black Dress,” from 2004’s Gardening in the Dark, and then see “Fashion Victim” in the present book), the poet of realizing that you hired the wrong babysitter, of realizing that you were once the wrong babysitter, of teens who tell their mothers “You ruined my life,” of the mothers who hear them, of the life that you have to revisit, decades later, in order to know whether it was ruined after all. She has, like all good poets, created a music of her own, one suited to her concerns. When denizens of the 22nd century, if we get there, look back on our era and ask how we lived, they will take an interest both in the strangest personalities who gave their concerns verbal form, and in the most representative. The future will not—should not—see us by one poet alone. But if there is any justice in that future, Kasischke is one of the poets it will choose.”Boston Review

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