Everyone in this poem was harmed
All the animals that neared this poem were poisoned
And the great tree that gave its flesh
To scaffold these bones
Did so unwilling
PRE-ORDER (SHIPS FALL 2019) — A poetic meditation on the modern world: Rilkean elegies for an iPhone, sonnets about The Texas Chain Saw Massacre, and other strange missives from the poet laureate of Hell.
Jonathan Ball’s fourth poetry book, the first in seven years, swirls chaos and confession together. At the book’s heart is a question: Why create art? A series of poetic sequences torment themselves over this question, offering few answers and taking fewer prisoners. A startling diversity of styles and subjects feed into the maelstrom of The National Gallery, and its dark currents will draw you in to drown.
“A wondrous collection of the narcotic, gorgeous, and hilarious … Ball's phrases often fold in on themselves suddenly to produce startling mouthfuls of dream and delight … the reader doesn't even notice the trapdoor that's opened beneath their giddy feet.” — Guy Maddin, director of My Winnipeg and The Saddest Music in the World
“This is a brilliant and profound book, often hilarious and moving, alive and alert to our life, our language, our darkness, and our love.” — Gary Barwin, author of Yiddish for Pirates and The Porcupinity of the Stars
“Brilliant and smothering. Ball sculpts a heartbreaking figure of an artist like and unlike the author, living quotidian life, out of the shifting material of the unconsciousness.” — Natalee Caple, author of In Calamity's Wake
“Ball deploys his distinctive blend of sinister insight and munificent imagination, illuminating horror and dark humour, artful precision and formal play.” — Daniel Scott Tysdal, author of The Mourner's Book of Albums