p e e p

Danielle BlauPublication: April 27th, 2022

£10.99

Winner of the sixteenth Anthony Hecht Poetry Prize

Foreword by the judge, Vijay Seshadri

Danielle Blau’s peep invites you into a world so strange it is utterly familiar, a world from our ancient past that could also be the future—or a twisted version of the present. It is a mirror world where the husk of our culture shows starkly, and yet it is lit by joy, in the words, the verses themselves. peep is uncanny, primal, magical, capturing hopelessness, gridlock, our impact on the environment and those around us, questioning progress and the language we use to speak to each other, each little peep a little life desperate to not pass unnoticed.

Coming Soon

ISBN: 9781911379034 Extent: 112pp Category:

p e e p

The first impressions Danielle Blau’s poems give the reader are impressions of newness and immediacy. These impressions also happen to be, along with the many others that billow out of these rich and abundant poems, the second and fifth (and fiftieth) impressions. Blau’s newness and immediacy aren’t ephemeral or fugitive. They aren’t calculated or contrived. And they aren’t generated from fashionable detailing or cultural signalling. Her poems glitter, and they’re incredibly energetic, but they’re never flashy, and their persuasiveness derives from deep sources. Though her flexible diction is present-day, though she has a gender-specific savviness and élan that probably wouldn’t have been possible before the advent of the twenty-first century (or thereabouts), though she’s street-wise, nothing in her work is just contemporary, nothing is independent of anything else. As hip as she is, she’s also a throwback to the Romantic vocation of organic form. All her effects are emanations of the fullness with which her sensibility inhabits language and the confident way her imagination takes possession of her experience … peep is a tour de force, and it’s more than a tour de force. It displays deep within itself, for all its intellectual and imaginative power and self-delight, a curious tenderness and vulnerability. The book glories in language and thinking; it’s imaginative and bold; but it’s also intimate. If I were asked to account for this intimacy, especially in the face of all the other effects that Blau realizes, I might say, diffidently, that Blau is the performer of her own experience, but she is also its scholar and critic. – from Vijay Seshadri’s foreword

 

Two poems from Danielle Blau’s peep

Villanelle

There is an order. Such an order.
Each event a word that must be read
or else, my friend — Today I woke up shorter,

sleep playing pestle to my twin bed’s mortar,
me the poor shaved meat. But no regret —
an order to these things, you see, there’s order.

Each man a crack at playing cosmic sorter.
Within each uncracked code-shell is a threat.
Today, take notice; time is getting shorter.

Two speckled eggs. Omens from the Lord, or
Nature, the clouds, some darker silhouette.
Listen, my friend: what they say’s an order.

And at this moment’s close, you’ll cross the border
into the moment after — seems no end
of days lived longly but they’re short and shorter

at each turn, the world speaks: I record her
though she only talks in languages long dead,
there is an order — yes — an awful order
my friend, wake up! Your shadow’s growing shorter.

 

 

I Am the Perennial Head of This One-Person Subcutaneous Wrecking Crew

To maintain these depths of misery
takes work given my buoyant disposition;
for every sill of my flesh
I must invent a new method to flay.
Few people know inside your skin

is a microscopic garden.
With love I tuck in seeds
of its destruction late
each night, daily tend my

dear ruin — knot distant, unsuspecting
clovers at their root tips; stomata full of
rodent bones, down

they go, the pond lilies: I’m strict. Who
could love you like you.

 

Excerpts

Two poems from Danielle Blau's peep

Villanelle

There is an order. Such an order.
Each event a word that must be read
or else, my friend — Today I woke up shorter,

sleep playing pestle to my twin bed’s mortar,
me the poor shaved meat. But no regret —
an order to these things, you see, there’s order.

Each man a crack at playing cosmic sorter.
Within each uncracked code-shell is a threat.
Today, take notice; time is getting shorter.

Two speckled eggs. Omens from the Lord, or
Nature, the clouds, some darker silhouette.
Listen, my friend: what they say’s an order.

And at this moment’s close, you’ll cross the border
into the moment after — seems no end
of days lived longly but they’re short and shorter

at each turn, the world speaks: I record her
though she only talks in languages long dead,
there is an order — yes — an awful order
my friend, wake up! Your shadow’s growing shorter.

 

 

I Am the Perennial Head of This One-Person Subcutaneous Wrecking Crew

To maintain these depths of misery
takes work given my buoyant disposition;
for every sill of my flesh
I must invent a new method to flay.
Few people know inside your skin

is a microscopic garden.
With love I tuck in seeds
of its destruction late
each night, daily tend my

dear ruin — knot distant, unsuspecting
clovers at their root tips; stomata full of
rodent bones, down

they go, the pond lilies: I’m strict. Who
could love you like you.