Maps and Transcripts of the Ordinary World: Poems


Product Details

$16.00  $14.88
Milkweed Editions
Publish Date
5.3 X 8.4 X 0.4 inches | 0.35 pounds

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About the Author

Kathryn Cowles is the author of Eleanor, Eleanor, not your real name, winner of the Dorothy Brunsman Poetry Prize. Her poems and poem-photograph hybrids have been published in the Georgia Review, New American Writing, Best American Experimental Writing, Verse, Free Verse, Colorado Review, Diagram, the Academy of American Poets Poem-a-day, and elsewhere. She earned her doctorate from the University of Utah and is an associate professor of English at Hobart and William Smith Colleges in the Finger Lakes region of New York.


"[Cowles] deftly shows that as we struggle to transform into language what we see and hear and feel, the results are inevitably incomplete; there's a gap between what we want to say and what we actually manage . . . An intriguing, risk-taking work, with special appeal for millennials and crossover readers." --Library Journal, Top Ten Spring Poetry

"The poems themselves are hatching modalities that bounce between the matter of language and the matter of the real world. Cowles' collection is slippery, elusive, but also in essence, inexpressibly familiar." --Vol. 1 Brooklyn

"Where are you? Where do you think you are? How do you know? Maps and Transcripts of the Ordinary World will quite possibly change your mind, or that part of your mind that thinks it knows, or relies on anything in print. Come take a journey from an island in Greece--by boat and plane and step--to Ohio, only to walk out into a field of wildflowers you thought you knew, but didn't. The luckiest readers will wind up in a rocking chair on a porch, seeing the world as if for the first time."--Mary Ruefle

"The careful measure of this world against all other versions, measured by birds, by boats, by the sea . . . Kathryn Cowles explores the ways that acute, engaged attention is, in itself, a unit of measure, delivering us up to a world the size of a world. She covers a lot of territory, and always with an intimacy that makes us present, in her images and in her imaginary, both always mapping the world as a way of participating it in more closely--a stunning text that sweeps the reader along with its travels." --Cole Swensen

"Kathryn Cowles's new book is an extraordinary exploration of the heart of human existence. Interrogating our relationship to place, the environment, religion, history, memory, love, and more, she employs a myriad of forms and approaches. The language here is a symphonic arc at once dissonant and harmonic, experimental and narrative, a perfect blend of opposites seeking always to open a road, a liminal zipper into possibility. Part alchemical formula, part cartographer's process, part prophecy, part fairy tale, Maps and Transcripts of the Ordinary World weaves spell after spell, poems and images spooling out as coordinates, compass points, leading into a lyric, playful but deep probing of what might be recovered and turned to a redemptive purpose."--Chris Abani

"Kathryn Cowles's beautiful new work is threaded with sites of everyday transformation--where a landscape becomes an image or a bird song becomes a sequence of hyphenated phonemes or a flash of consciousness becomes a poem. In text and image, Cowles shows us how to see and hear through the interstitial spaces we've been so thoroughly trained to overlook. Tracking an intimate call-and-response between the poet and her surroundings, these poems reveal a practice of tender attention as generous and fully alive as the worlds they map."--Elizabeth Willis