Your Kingdom

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Product Details
$20.00  $18.60
Coffee House Press
Publish Date
6.6 X 8.6 X 0.6 inches | 0.6 pounds

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About the Author

Eleni Sikelianos was born and grew up in California, and has lived in New York, Paris, Athens (Greece), Colorado, and now, Providence. She is the author of nine books of poetry, most recently What I Knew and Make Yourself Happy, and two hybrid memoir-verse-image-novels, The Book of Jon and You Animal Machine. A number of her books have appeared in French and one in Greek, and her work has been translated into many other languages. She has been at the forefront of ecopoetics and hybrid work since the early 2000s, exploring family as well as animal lineages. Her work has been widely fêted and anthologized, garnering numerous awards, including from the National Endowment for the Arts, the Fulbright Program, the National Poetry Series, New York Foundation for the Arts, Princeton University's Seeger Center, and the Gertrude Stein Awards in Innovative American Poetry. Dedicated to the many ways poetry manifests in communities, she has taught workshops in public schools, homeless shelters, and prisons, and collaborated with musicians, filmmakers, and visual artists. She currently teaches at Brown University.


Praise for Your Kingdom:

"This is a book of hearts. . . . In a time of ecological doom, there is gorgeous comfort--if only momentary--in Sikelianos's deep histories and epic sensibility." --Rebecca Morgan Frank, Poetry Foundation

"I am utterly awed by Eleni Sikelianos's Your Kingdom. These poems spread their mammoth wings across a singing, rhythmic soundscape of language and into a layered timescape of evolution, wherein 'each you is a metaphor for us, ' and us = human, plant, animal, earth / land / its waters, and even the stars as relatives. This is a celebration of our forever-connectivity, our collective beauty, strangeness, messiness, vibrant color, morphing, and seemingly infinite names. Thank you, Eleni, for this book--inside which I have never felt more present in the story of this world." --Layli Long Soldier

"A sound of two black holes on a collision course excites the scene of writing for Eleni Sikelianos in these poems made to luminesce in expansive multicellular reach and from the great intimacies of our animal kin and ken. Your Kingdom proliferates, whether by symbiosis or descent, whether by variation or 'traces of this ravaging, ' into a visionary horizon beyond human selfhood--'chimera, cobbled / together from bits of genetic trash'--when at last we face the mirror of species relation. Sikelianos seeks first the chemical kisses of the cosmos to reanimate the pieces of us Darwin called the 'wreck of ancient life.' The outcome is a poetry of origin-affinity and light, a language of life forms thronging a 'paradise / before we / killed or / breathed.'" --Roberto Tejada

Praise for Make Yourself Happy:

"Haunted by the 20th century's dismal record of global species extinction and an uncertain world-historical future ahead, this book uncovers new forms of resistance to apathy and despair through a return to the etymological root of 'poet' as 'maker.' Whether Sikelianos is writing about making a paper globe, making a family, making a statement, or making yourself, she surveys the field of human endeavors to find new prospects for care amid precarious political contexts." --Srikanth Reddy, BOMB

"Sikelianos's classic style always shows that she is the master of the line, especially the enjambed line, and she is able to write adeptly about this moving toward death that is hidden from her reader." --Laura Carter, VIDA

"Enhanced by its illustrations and well researched, Make Yourself Happy is committed to seeing language in all its vibrancy make a plug for the universe." --Linda Lown-Klein, Rain Taxi Review of Books

"This book is your invitation to the post-human pool party of the future." --Rae Armantrout

"Besides the pleasure we feel, we see here a moral endeavor, an invitation to make ourselves happy. [Sikelianos's] journey finds its energy in her perfect ear for language and immense generosity of heart. Her openness lets in the sinuosities and cracks of what we may well end up calling 'being, ' in her great project of telling us, in these worst moments of actual history, to be (urgently) happy because we are . . . happy." --Etel Adnan

Praise for You Animal Machine:

"A wonderfully strange and inventive book . . . The writing pulsates with such life force, reckless and a little giddy, as the author surveys her family's female history, the immigration of Greeks to America. . . This is writing and reading as adventure, where every page can bring a different sort of revelation." --Kirkus, starred review

"Through artifacts-lists of songs, newspaper clippings, photographs, film posters, staged interviews, poems-the poet Sikelianos assembles a textual chimera that keeps sliding through her fingers . . . The text, as a result, is tough as nails: you can feel Sikelianos at work, forcibly stitching it with catgut string, only to watch it fly apart again" --Jenny Hendrix, The Believer

"As feminism reaches the height of the hashtag, Sikelianos instead drums forward a woman's experience with other words . . . Here lies Sikelianos' prowess: she gives readers the power to imagine and inquire and be ridiculous as we do so." --Aileen McGraw, Huffington Post

"Sikelianos is a shamanistic denizen of the desert and the dark, but her journey is laced with irony as well as wisdom and beauty--expect lazurite to coexist with KFC bones stuffed under a mattress, expect a narrator as tough and hard-assed as her fascinating, fugitive subject. No matter how one summarizes its scope or achievement, You Animal Machine will surpass it." --Maggie Nelson

"This is Sikelianos at her most rapturous and hallucinatory, a gravestone rubbing that captures the smudgy mess of language and summons with it a fantastical map of what makes us human, what makes us feral, and what still has the ability to make us tremble in wonder at a time when the world has convinced itself that it knows enough already. Held together by dream, by luck, by chain link and goat weed, this is an essay that gets it right: 'Let me try to do this thing. Please get the fuck out of my way.'" --John D'Agata