Fear of Description

From Midwestern bars to Brooklyn apartments, narrative poems that find millennials adrift–in political upheaval and personal crisis–and trying to find their way back to one another

Winner of the 2018 National Poetry Series competition, selected by Brenda Shaughnessy

These poems tell the story of a generation in crisis: at odds with its own ideals, precariously (or just un-) employed, and absolutely terrified of seeing itself in the planet’s future. Is our contemporary moment pure tragedy, or a dark joke? Can it be both? Cutting back and forth in time and ranging between elegiac lyrics and autobiographical accounts of a group of poets moving from Iowa to Brooklyn in the years just before and after the 2016 election, Fear of Description reinvigorates the prose poem, exploring the slippery terrain between grief and friendship, artifice and technology, writing and ritual, hauntings and obsessions–searching for joy in art but instead finding it in pitch darkness.

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Selected by

Brenda Shaughnessy