Winner of the Gival Press Poetry Award
"A 19th-century automaton and other museum exhibits narrate this collection of poems . . . . Uncanny, heart-wrenching, and beautifully crafted
poems by an original voice." -Kirkus Reviews, August 5, 2020, starred review
"Vast in scope, passionately imagined, and constructed with as much ingenuity as the famed contraption at its narrative's heart, Matthew
Pennock's second book hints at serious ontological questions as it invents its hero's journey from automaton to autonomy. Like all contrivances that simulate human life, Pennock's synthetic boy compels us to interrogate our own materiality, and to ask, if we are all just portions of the twisting / stew of particles and light assembled by mechanical chance, then what puts the lonely in us? Packed with insight and wit and told by a congress of oddities-the narration travels back and forth in time and juggles various perspectives, including that of a trained seal, a fortune teller machine, and both halves of P.T. Barnum's bogus mermaid-The Miracle Machine is an irresistible, at times provocative, and often powerfully affecting book."
-Timothy Donnelly, author of The Problem of the Many