New York Review of Books
February 11, 2020
4.4 X 0.5 X 6.9 inches | 0.3 pounds
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About the Author
Denise Riley's nonfiction includes War in the Nursery: Theories of the Child and Mother (1983); "Am I That Name?" Feminism and the Category of "Women" in History (1988); The Words of Selves: Identification, Solidarity, Irony (2000); The Force of Language (with Jean-Jacques Lecercle; 2004); and Impersonal Passion: Language as Affect (2005). Her poetry collections include Marxism for Infants (1977), Dry Air (1985), Mop Mop Georgette (1993), and, most recently, Selected Poems 1976-2016 (2019). Max Porter is the author of the novels Lanny and Grief Is the Thing with Feathers.
[Riley's] writing is perfectly weighted, justifies its existence. It is impossible not to want to 'say something back' to each of her poems in recognition of their outstanding quality. Her voice is strong and beautiful--an imperative in itself. But her subject is not strength--it is more that she is robust about frailty. --Kate Kellaway, The Observer "But if, most resonantly of all, you come to poetry to be moved, 'A Part Song', the 20-part exequy for the poet's late son at the heart of [Say Something Back], is an astonishing, wrenching and sustained study of grief. This multifaceted piece is both a poem and a sequence, since each part stands alone but the whole is more than the sum of its parts. Like all major poetry of grief, it invites us to observe the act of witness, the process of trying to present an account." --Fiona Sampson, The Guardian "This book is without a scrap of sentimentality but provokes a deep emotional response: not from poignancy but in awe at the precision with which Riley records her grief. It is often too painful to read, but too valuable not to." --John Self, The Guardian