Gifts for Poets & Readers: ROME by Dorothea Lasky #book

I adore this collection. It's tough and sweet, it's funny and smart. My favorite things.

I recommend this book to readers who want something new and surprising. This book will offend some and charm others. I'm on the charmed side. I like her style, her voice, her sass, and her strength.  I carry this book in my purse. Huge compliment.

A poem from ROME originally published at Body Lit:


Girl, I heard that you got a place
Where you tell jokes, ala Eddie Murphy, 1985
But how do you do that
I am Eddie Murphy
I heard
That you do wine tastings with Eddie Murphy
In the vineyards of Italia
And I am confused
I am not there
I am Eddie Murphy
I am snorting cocaine off of tanned Italian backsides
While ten young men
Suck my gigantic dick
For two hundred hours
Do you eat a fine steak dinner with Eddie Murphy
But I am still hungry
And it is 4 am on the West side
I am going home to my majestic marble linoleum
I tell the jokes here
And if you want to
Come into my house
Introduce yourself first
Don’t just go walking in
And telling the people you know them
Or you are the one they have been waiting for
They aren’t waiting for anything
I make royalties on my sort of thing
I give them what they need
We are brethren
We are together
This is not about you
You write a punchline
Go up in front of the crowd
Say, I am the thing that makes you turn
But honey
It is a lie when you do it
You are the person outside the house
I am the one
Gracious enough
To let you in


DOROTHEA LASKY is the author of ROME (W.W. Norton/ Liveright) andThunderbird, Black Life and AWE, all from Wave Books. She currently is an Assistant Professor of Poetry at Columbia University’s School of the Arts and lives in Brooklyn.


“Dorothea Lasky's 
ROME is dark, fearlessly frank, unabashedly vulnerable and full of real live heart. In line after incantatory line, these poems catch me up, and the raw, stark truth of them holds me rapt, like a spell—something meant to console even as it chastens—and so I understand that what they are built from, and building upon, is the animating energy all true language houses. This is unforgettable work from a poet of urgent and inimitable voice.” (Tracy K. Smith, author of Life on Mars)

“Beginning with her debut, AWE, Dorothea Lasky has been perfecting a simplicity that is as learnedly classical as it is up to the moment, as panther-like in its elegance as it is, like a panther, brutal. 'In face of everything,' she warns, 'I write loud words,' but under their loudness, as in their simplicity, a great complexity of insight and feeling converges and resounds. Love, wrath, desire, happiness, sorrow, despair and even disgust—all the human affects are called on and considered here, and in elemental form, tempered only by wit (never by politeness or piety). No one else is writing poetry as boldly colored, unabashed, and wildly human as Lasky's is, and ROME is her best book yet.” (Timothy Donnelly, author of The Cloud Corporation)

~ Kells

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