Selected by Dean Young as winner of the Kathryn A. Morton Prize in Poetry, Fludde draws on Blake's Songs of Innocence and Experience to critique and dismantle contemporary American values and conditioning: commodification, environmental negligence, corporate exploitation, toxic masculinity. At once surreal and satirical, vulnerable and nostalgic, Mishler channels the voices of disillusioned middle management alongside the freewheeling imaginative vision of children to disrupt the fixity of our received ideas.
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About the Author
Peter Mishler was born in New Jersey, and lives in Kansas City. His poems have appeared at The Winter Anthology, Oversound, Prodigal, diode, Prelude, Conjunctions, and elsewhere. The title poem from this collection was anthologized in Best New Poets. He earned a BFA in literature from Emerson College and both an MS in English Education and an MFA in creative writing from Syracuse University. Mishler is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships from the Bread Loaf Writers' Conference and Syracuse University, and he presently curates a contemporary poetry feature for Literary Hub. This is his first book.
The Rumpus, "What to Read When You Want to Celebrate Poetry"
The Millions, "Must-Read Poetry: May 2018" "Mishler's deft grasp of image as well as his unique voice keep these poems immediate and engaging."
"It's difficult not to grin, smirk, purse your lips, or generally screw up your face when reading Peter Mishler's poems in his debut book, Fludde. It isn't just the peculiarity of these pieces but the command with which Mishler executes it, taking readers in something like a swift punt along strange but otherwise unassuming canals."
--Ryo Yamaguchi, Kenyon Review
"[Mishler] is able to do incredible things with language as he creates beautifully lyrical pieces, set up with a musical tone and rhythm only to break it abruptly. In this way Mishler integrates the harsh cacophony of the real world with the singsong whimsicality of the imagination. . . . Fludde is an experience, raw and honest."
--Blaine Heydt, BookBar
"Fludde performs the same magic as Peter Pan. . . [and] reminds us that the best answers, those of the unspoken imagination, are never searchable. It also reminds us that poetry, when done with a deft eye and sure pen, slows down our inner swirling long enough to let that clear light emerge."
--Claudia F. Saleeby Savage, The Collagist
"[Fludde's] music, its vivid, outsized imagery, and its surreal associations are steeped in the Romantics, shaped by the Modernists, and communicated with a language so restrained and earnest it can stop your breath. . . . Fludde is magical, mysterious, and disturbing."
--Michelle Lewis, Rain Taxi
"[A] debut expansive in subject and skilled in practice."
"The poems of Fludde tend to resemble James Tate's early and mid-career poems, albeit with less goofiness and more gravitas. Still, as in Tate's best work, whimsical play and occasional moments of absurdist humor add texture to Mishler's poems without deflecting our attention from the pain that is housed in the heart of the collection."
--Matt Morton, Los Angeles Review of Books, "'The History of Your Private Life': On Peter Mishler's Fludde"
"A master of the bon mot, [Mishler] is totally unconstrained by the limits realism places on writing. . . . Fludde is, to borrow [Dean] Young's description, 'a companion for our dream life.' Drink it in. Mishler fills any glass with words and knows every twist of phrase."
--Joseph LaBine, Grist
"As global warming threatens an apocalyptic flooding of the world, and the super-rich create their ark-like compounds and retreats, as capital seeks to exploit the very victims of the climate catastrophe in the Global South, Mishler's simple-seeming dreaming takes on denunciatory power and vision: these are dreams to take with caution; a vivid, menacing and lyrical set of nightmares for the times."
--Adam Piette, Blackbox Manifold
"The poems in Fludde make the uncanny uncanny again, no small feat in an era in which reality surpasses the imagination at every turn. It's when we're closer to being persuaded into thinking that the role of invention is to come up with tools to best convey real life's inconceivable scenarios that we most need our imaginings. Mishler's roam defiantly free, as in the realm of the oneiric and children's fabulations. This book is incredible."
--Mónica de la Torre
"In this uncompromising collection, it is understood that shades of the prison house begin to close upon the growing self, and that the sound of the chimneysweeper's broom is '-weep -weep.' There's a powerful moral imagination at work in Fludde, and its poems are darkly and passionately self-knowing about the consequences of how the childhood self is, as it grows, incorporated into the world around it. Read 'Little Lord Fauntleroy, ' 'Workhorse, ' and 'Blind Minotaur Led by a Child.' Read all of the poems in this wonderful book. It's a joy to experience Mishler's individual skill, his inventiveness, his beautiful knowing versification."
--David Ferry, author of Bewilderment, winner of the National Book Award for poetry
"Full of the feral joy of invention and profoundly animated, Fludde makes us feel, as only poetry can, that we've found a companion for our dream life. I'd say this is good news."
--Dean Young, from the introduction to Fludde