Chinoiserie

Cover: Quemadura
(Ahsahta Press © 2012)
ISBN: 978-1-934103-25-8

Winner of the 2011 Sawtooth Poetry Prize, an SPD Books Bestseller, and named by The Volta as one of the best books of 2012 in its Friday Feature, Chinoiserie travels through centuries in poems that carve wonder from ruin, from an illuminated manuscript to New York on the eve of disaster, the Emperor’s nightingale to neon aquariums.

A sensory flight—intricate in its vision, Ecclesiastic in its hunger, brutal in its portrayal of a solitude that “could surrender / to the hammer or the flame”—this book of curiosities draws inspiration from 15th century masters, Japanese animation, mid-century films, Marguerite Duras, and other sources.

In his judge’s citation, Paul Hoover writes, “Karen Rigby sees with feeling the magic of things shaped by language…But here also are the musical cadence, subject range, and ceremonial precision of true poetry…This is, quite simply, a gorgeous and powerful book.”

“Poems this nuanced and strong, wild and grave, seem to be written with a feather and a chisel. They are that delicate, that indelible.”

—Alice Fulton

“Dense, unpredictable images and beautifully unlikely sounds evoke not only a sensory universe but also a rigorous mind, on which nothing, from art or life, is lost.”

—Adrienne Su