Barrow Street 2002 Prize Winner
With Selah Joshua Corey joins a generation of exciting first-book poets (Jennifer Clarvoe, Joanie Mackowski, Cate Marvin come to mind) who apply the fundamental poetic gift of the ear, in new ways. Sheer richness of language, and in the best poems cadences layered like those of Wallace Stevens, guide the reader through Corey’s extravagant, playful, fantastical and profuse otherworld.
Joshua Corey’s book maps new territory in the indefatigable search for an adequate form of elegy. These poems meditate in a timeless manner on the terrible NOT at the center of death, but they do so to new music, one that embodies sly humor, formal invention, and rhetorical bravado. They are original, sophisticated and unabashed.
—Mary Jo Bang
Deep engager, Joshua Corey seeks to redeem what is ‘singed’ and ‘wared’ in us with ‘the pupa’s word. Dazzled weresong’ (‘man’ song, a ‘we’re’ or ‘we are’ song), one made strange from the straits of the problem. Through a ravishing compact formal beauty comes ‘white sound crashing . . . on the shoals of . . . sleep.’ He has gone so far into disillusion and aporia that he seems about to emerge out the other side, as through one of those suddenly wavering, watery space- and time-walls in a science-fiction film. What if it really is as he says: ‘my mouth is full of his breath. / His tongue is in my mouth, and his name / is every body I see’? Selah: lift up! He keeps you hooked; he keeps you tantalized.