Or, the Ambiguities

Or, the Ambiguities

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Author: Karen Weiser 

Publisher: Ugly Duckling Presse (2015)

Or, The Ambiguities is a book of long poems that asks how we correspond with the dead. Written with and through various works by Herman Melville, the poems in this collection invent new visual forms in order to playfully enact Jack Spicer’s idea that poems are “how we dead men write to each other.”


"This book stuns and amazes. Its ambiguities, its ors are everywhere dispersed in crystalline surfaces, luminous depths. Subtly startling in each of its parts – spanning a formal and historical range in which graphic and grammatical presences include an I that “could disappear into the Encyclopedia / of Animal Life as the cherub’s sleepiest / Wet tusk.” Or negotiate lettristic precipitation and accretions of revelation and release. Or make poetry in spaces the size of very small manacled wrists where: “when the sun slows the little meager light of thought / into logic; / it . . . silvers this nook.” Poetry flourishes."

–Joan Retallack