October 11, 2014 Admiral Admin Ackbar

Barrow Street 2009 Prize Winner

For philosopher Michel Foucault, “heterotopia” designates a real or imagined space of escape, transformation, or revelation. In Lesley Wheeler’s prizewinning second collection, the heterotopia is Liverpool, England, during the middle of the twentieth century—a time and place defined by the Blitz and the privations that followed. Her imaginary Liverpool, however, has a complicated relationship to the real city and to her own life in the United States: it makes visible what was gained and lost in the transition from poverty to prosperity, from oral culture to print overload.

During a time when so many collections of verse seem tonally and formally monochromatic, it’s especially refreshing to encounter a writer who works with such considerable facility in several different modes—deeply felt personal lyrics, challenging sonnet sequences, and documentary-historical poems of intelligence and depth. What’s more, these various concerns and approaches not only complement one another, but seem inextricably linked. Heterotopia is a collection of unusual distinction.
—David Wojahn, contest judge

With acute formal awareness, Lesley Wheeler makes urgent and undeniably present the “sedimentary language” of an inherited past… This work fuses lyrical invention with the “blitzed, hungry, smoke-thin world” of memory—the poems richly drawn intermixtures of narrative and place.
—Claudia Emerson

Lesley Wheeler is the author of Heathen, Voicing American Poetry,and other books; she co-edited the anthology Letters to the World with Moira Richards and Rosemary Starace. Her poems have appeared in many journals, including Poetry, Slate, and Prairie Schooner. She is Professor of English at Washington and Lee University and lives in Lexington, Virginia.

Buy Heterotopia (2010) online via our secure payment service, Paypal:
ISBN: 9780981987620