Three, Breathing

Three, Breathing

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Author: S.A. Stepanek

Publisher: Wave Books (2006) 

A book-length psalm that weaves a mantra of Biblical, domestic, and political themes unified by repetition and manic religious energy.

"Three, Breathing is a difficult book with a payoff; it is one of the few books of poetry I’ve read that has changed the way I look at the regularities of my daily life, that has excited me because every physicality seems deeper in its connection to the textures of words. The book’s ambiguities do not derail the beauty possible from a run-in with Three, Breathing, a strange spiritual for the twenty-first century. . . . Stepanek is a brave, eccentric voice in contemporary American poetry."

–Barbara Duffey

"Stepanek's major achievement is finding a form that can evolve, imitate breathing, and constantly gesture toward the divine, though he doesn't necessarily commit to one Old Testament God, one Messiah, or one pissed Trickster. I admire its ambition, its length, its re-interpretations of the Bible as new language and ancient language simultaneously. I think it starts as a robust spell of lyric and incantatory momentum, but then shape-shifts into a slowly re-collected vision of reality, accumulating meanings by multiple appearances of objects, angles, readings. There is delightful work and artistry in this book, and much to pore and ponder, to re-read of what the poet's mind intended."

–Cynthia Arrieu-King

Winner of the National Poetry Series