The Age 0f Greenhouses (BlazeVOX 2016)
I love this book––full of gardens so terrifying I wish they were imagined but described so brilliantly I fear they are not. I forget who said “Everyone is interesting in a jungle,” but only the delicately arranged are so interesting in the garden of a ranch house built in 1960. “Books,” the book warns us, “don’t come cheap in the garden.” Welcome Anne-Adele––who seems to have no fear, not even the one of looking squarely at the planetary catastrophe of modernity––to the Lucretian halls of poets who spare no science. All this courage, plus I never thought I’d read an ecopoetics this funny.
The mash-up of our ecological and moral concerns may be navigating by “a map so changed by three million years that spare parts no longer apply.” Anne-Adele Wight’s gardens now stand in for that map; our labyrinth lost, our plague clue, our rumored history, our “heaven and hell”––but for how long? Amid observable shifts in climate and oceans, a poetics of the greenhouse prolongs the eventuality of no garden, a future where there may be “no telling what physical gravel might enter the mind.” Forget what gardens are for in your patent metaphysical realm; “everything is a palindrome or nothing is.”
It is exciting watching a new Anne-Adele Wight poetry fan holding her latest book, their faces beaming until they look up with Wow! Her poetry is a hidden American treasure no longer as more and more poets are sharing her books. It is a privilege to read a poet who has dedicated years to her craft, giving the world some of the best poems we will ever read. The Age of Greenhouses made me say Wow over and over! Let the celebration begin!
Opera House Arterial (BlazeVOX 2013)
Anne-Adele Wight’s new masterpiece Opera House Arterial is a fierce testimony of the power that one archetype alone can create––the Opera House. Part trickster, part behemoth, part lover, part spy, part friendly cadaver––like “sparrow bones in a cup.” Or “a mug of phosphorus.” Anne-Adele told me once about the Opera House and I was amazed. The Opera House, she said, has a mind of its own. It manifests and it delivers. If you read this book, you, too, will experience the Opera House in all its “metal breathing,” all of its “spinal rattle… from deep within.” And you will be a much more magical person as a result.
Anne-Adele Wight’s marvelous Opera House Arterial, reminds us that the opera house is an omnipresent vaudevillian all-encompassing elegant cycle that both “throws us off course” and leaves us “unable to distinguish between myth and geography.” The musicality of these poems could easily fill a huge theater, Wight’s deft repetition echoing from balcony to balcony to orchestra pit. Like Gertrude Stein’s word portraits, these poems are language game and omniscient narrator, main road and irresistible detours. An opera house is an opera house is an “altar of snakes,” a “parade of orange umbrellas,” “a scrim of combines.” Everyone needs to read this book. Multiple times. Because “what the opera house does to your mind is” part oxygenated crystallographic page space part rhythmic heaven ballroom gait. Thank you, Anne-Adele Wight, for giving us this voice jeweled place.
A converter to direct current from alternates, opera house is around and through us, moving without hints of electrostatic charge. It morphs from shape to species to forces of weather––in wind, atop mountains, between lovers and at the bottom of the sea. Does the opera house confer momentum on illicit affairs? Dionysian or Apollonian, you make the call. This book is a study exercise for an end of the world and the strange force that moves us through its traffic.
Anne-Adele Wight’s Opera House Arterial pursues a critical mass of opera houses. Opera house to draw borders. Opera house to recognize neighbors. Opera house to perform and invent. Opera house to illustrate the elemental. In these poems, one’s own opera house is taken up in Wight’s invitation to “discuss and debate as a group exercise.” Wight takes seriously the work of setting the stages, orchestrating the scores, and cueing the voices. She does not forget to acknowledge their limits.
Drawn to water, we chase ourselves as anything. So cities, or insistent return to the arteries––here, in Wight’s work, bright red blood as music. There, the opera house again, planetary: poem as through street, getting you where you need to go. Roam this globe, astral debris.
Sidestep Catapult (BlazeVOX 2011)
This book is so good that I keep wanting to write, “Dear Anne-Adele Wight, I love your poems and…” No, that’s not right. “Dear Anne-Adele Wight, you change me with your poems…” No, that’s silly. “Dear poet, look what you have done to me. Leading me out to the spindly forests of inclination, barely ready for the foreign elements surging from your poetry, your poetry I am surrounded by and in love with, and live in fear of, how, do, you, do, this, to, me?” With love.
–CAConrad, author of The Book of Frank (Wave Books)
Sidestep Catapult is a deeply empathetic and superbly special book. Anne-Adele Wight’s phrasings perform subtle critiques that articulate exigencies along social curves. Biometric cues pop up. The quotidian is presented as melting images of muted strangeness in the form of sound crystals, uremic frost, fault lines, and thyroid necklaces. Wight unravels the multiplicity of contexts that gives discursive life a present and presence.
Anne-Adele Wight is the Great Mother Earth of poetry in Philadelphia. She loves, provides for, worries about, beautifies, and cries over. Enter Sidestep Catapult and prepare to be transported, rewarded, and transformed. Urgently, Wight’s poems burn like the wisest of tigers––the tiger of all time––protecting our nights while an “anti-gravity disco ball” hangs overhead. And don’t be surprised if this lush debut leaves you grasping at life with “four thumbs,” for that’s the kind of mysterious, awareness-altering power that Anne-Adele Wight possesses.
—Paul Siegell, author of wild life rifle fire
In Anne-Adele Wight’s monumental collection, Sidestep Catapult, she maneuvers time and space to bring us to a new sense of being. With fresh and gorgeous language, she makes a world where letters and colors come together, where “every letter an element/each element its opposite/ each opposite a color/ every color on fire,” where “Birds land on an island to become black flowers,” and where in a “family cave/…hunted animals flank us running in paint.” And she bends our own world into hers so as to show us a truth where “love is grief,” where a sense of longing for a place more beautiful than this world always uncovers the next one.
–Dorothea Lasky, author of Black Life (Wave Books)
Sidestep Catapult, review by Elizabeth Kirwin
Elizabeth Kirwin is the creator and founder of FairesInAmerica.com, a website that gives insight into the fairy culture of the United States, a branch of neo-paganism that is on the rise. Kirwin is a professional writer, performance artist, and Organic SEO specialist. Visit http://www.fairiesinamerica.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.