Lying in: Poems

Product Details
$16.00  $14.88
Milkweed Editions
Publish Date
5.3 X 8.3 X 0.4 inches | 0.2 pounds

Earn by promoting books

Earn money by sharing your favorite books through our Affiliate program.

Become an affiliate
About the Author
Elizabeth Metzger is the author of Lying In, as well as and The Spirit Papers, winner of the Juniper Prize for Poetry, and the chapbook Bed. Her poems have been published in the New Yorker, Paris Review, Poetry, American Poetry Review, The Nation, and Poem-a-Day. Her essays have been published in Boston Review, Guernica, Conjunctions, PN Review, and Literary Hub, among others. She is a poetry editor at the Los Angeles Review of Books and she lives in California.
Praise for Lying In"In her second full-length collection, Metzger explores pregnancy, motherhood, grief, and bodily transformation. There's a sparse formality to these poems, with their elegant imagery and philosophical musings, but they are also deeply human and grounded in the body. Blurring the boundaries between past and future, Metzger writes about the strangeness and wonder of creating new life and the contradictions inherent in being a new parent [. . .] This is a moving, vulnerable book and a welcome addition to the growing canon of complicated literature about motherhood."--Laura Sackton, Buzzfeed News"These introspective lyrics consider the physical and psychic demands of motherhood and other forms of human relationship. Opening with a meditation on a difficult pregnancy--including a period of forced bed rest--the collection pushes back on the idea that gestation and birth are purely joyful experiences"--Poets & Writers"Elizabeth Metzger writes a taut, searing line. Compression isn't the right word, because these are capacious poems, phrases that hold and open up worlds--of feeling, of experience, of memory mixed with a living moment. Efficient might be a more accurate description--or impeccable."--Jesse Nathan, McSweeney's"If the poems in Lying In have any wisdom to impart, it's that our lives are transitional and contradictory, and that the act of creation depends on asking broad questions instead of providing specific answers."--David Roderick, Poetry Northwest
"Metzger reimagines bed rest as everything from quarantine to a queenly throne, her tones ranging from uncensored envy [. . .] With word-perfect precision, Metzger gives voice to postpartum paradoxes."--Christopher Spaide, Poetry Foundation"This book is profound in the way it portrays love, loss, numbness and longing. ... the overall arc of this amazing collection, ranging from poignance to the introspective, this body of work is a thoughtful offering that stays with the reader. I celebrate its unique relationship with language, its fine approach to storytelling, its ageless themes, cohesiveness, and how insightfully it delved into complex emotions and ideas, with sensitivity and depth. Lying In is one book to return to as often as one permits the longing for words that are devastatingly beautiful in their communication of experiences that leaves behind it, pools of light we never know how thirsty we are for."--Chris Margolin, The Poetry Question
"Elizabeth Metzger's Lying In is a book orbiting sacrifice, orbiting the way(s) one generation gives life then gives way to the next. She writes, 'In wildfire ash / I teach our son the alphabet.' A finger writes letters in the dust of dead trees--what is missing, what is gone, becomes language, literally becomes the shapes from which language is formed. Later, Metzger writes, 'I brought a weather with me // but it was not expectable / that he would stay this long, ' and I tremble. Really, there is something of Dickinson's elemental shudder in Metzger's lyric; I feel it in that deep molten core of me only real art can touch. 'What vision can be given? / What visible is true?' Lying In is brilliant, no bullshit. Elizabeth Metzger has become one of my favorite living poets."--Kaveh Akbar"Elizabeth Metzger's Lying In is a brave book about what enormous things you will do for those you love. Told from the perspective of bedrest, the book uncovers and examines the pain and possibility we all hold within us while lying still. Within this book, poetry lies itself on its own spacious bed, telling us all about the very strangeness of being and what great energy it takes to bother to exist at all. Metzger writes, 'Child I bend around you / like a boat. / If you live / do not blame the wave.' Within these lines, we are all the children of poetry, left there wondering if someone will save us. This book will save us."--Dorothea Lasky"What an intimate, intense book of poems Elizabeth Metzger has written! Fueled by the honest combination of ardor and rage at the heart of motherhood, Lying In is full of arias, sung to the self and others, persistent and daring. These are occasioned by the actual confinement of the title (two difficult pregnancies), but that literal confinement mirrors a (potentially) universal condition--that of any life willing to grieve the real limits of our bewildering world, any reader willing to acknowledge the bewildering intensity of 'the voluntary nature of staying alive.' It is the mystery of the human will in continuing resistance that this book explores, as fragile as that sometimes seems. To do this, Metzger must be focused as a sniper, lying in wait to catch in language a truth that lies just past what can be said--and she is."--Katie PetersonPraise for Bed "A bed of roses--or indeed, no bed of roses. Elizabeth Metzger's poems act as both repositories and engines of mystery, of 'secrets other secrets / have rubbed away, ' yet their mysteriousness never feels coy. There's a difference between hiding information and asserting control over how it's revealed. 'I stayed off-center, ' she writes, and to me this has always seemed like one of the better places from which to view things, but hers is furthermore a poetry that recognizes, as Gertrude Stein put it, 'there is no use in a center.' Among Metzger's many gifts is her ability to describe complicated positions simply, facing down the conundrums of language and perspective to devastating effect: 'The children left me. / You say they came.'"--Mark Bibbins, Judge's CitationPraise for The Spirit Papers"The Spirit Papers is a haunted book. Elizabeth Metzger's striking poems, limber and torqued, conjure phantom presences and palpable absences, in which the dreamed-of imagines the dreamer: 'You dream of me writing / your name on paper / adding in pencil a live.' Metzger probes enigmas of kinship, often filial, and navigates a restless sense of estrangement, poignantly fixed on 'the halo of what's un-begun.' The Spirit Papers, finally, and successfully, builds a world--a world built as much out of what's found, as out of what resists being found."--James Haug
"'A kettle whistles for nobody home. / And the wishes you never/and the others you will' says what's in the heart of The Spirit Papers. In these intimately naked poems love, and the anticipation of love's inevitable losses, lets us see into the endless facets our imaginations contrive to if not console us, to keep us going. The book gives us the encouragement we get from feeling we are in this together and from what's unbegun we're given some hope, maybe to conjure a kinder us. Precision, quiet daring, a decision to not waste a word, assigns a ceremonial aspect to poems whose lines ask us to take with them the time it takes to let the spirit in."--Dara Wier"Elizabeth Metzger's intelligence and originality are spiritual, earthy, brave. Especially in poems addressing a very ill young friend, Metzger expresses a wild courage that seems instinctive. Her poems are braided with a love for this world that brings to mind Dickinson."--Jean Valentine

"There is often ravishing verbal abandon in these poems: 'the halo of what's un-begun about him.' They join this to a formidable, discriminating narrative intelligence: 'If he's my first to go I will thank nobody for everything.' Epigrams pierce, new-minted: 'What light is to the eyeless / we are to the lonesome.' What unifies these poems? They are carefully composed messages stuffed in a bottle thrown from a plague ship."--Frank Bidart

"I've rarely come across a first book as unconditional, as exquisite, as captivating as this one is."--Lucie Brock-Briodo"These poems are unforgettable in their elegant reach past dissolution, their intimation that there is a better heaven to be made than a deity's, that there is a dream and the dream is this exquisite yet hard-faceted grieving initiatory poetry, first-responding against death."--Carol Muske-Dukes"This book is a book about heaven. It's about the collection of human connections and love that make a heaven. In that case, The Spirit Papers is its own little immaculate heaven."--Ploughshares