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Author: Nikki Wallschlaeger

Publisher: Bloof Books (2017)

The second book by the author of HousesCrawlspace collects thirty-six pieces built on the foundation of the sonnet, ranging in length from fourteen lines to longer works stacking multiple sonnets into linked sequences. Crawlspace deepens and extends the house metaphor from Wallschlaeger’s first book, while opening up more intimate and sometimes darker intellectual territory. Where Houses explored the mental/emotional/physical sheltered spaces in which we live out and construct our lives, Crawlspace explores the the more constricted spaces, the tighter concealed passages running above and below. These sonnets aim to be “very very fraught with you.”

“Poet Nikki Wallschlaeger is keen on the complex relationship between debt and domestic life. Her new book Crawlspace, a series of sonnets that consciously disrupt their own formal limits, discovers the violence embedded in our most familiar structures: mortgages, meals, rooms, houses, family relationships, and language itself. Wallschlaeger’s poems feel timely, as the links between property ownership, alienated labor, and the history of black slavery in the United States (‘Greasy gangrene hamburger wrapper of a country,’ in her words) become clearer by the day. She deploys a new vocabulary for talking about the legacies of slavery and white supremacy as they manifest in daily life—a vocabulary that is as damning as it is lush, as rich with sound as it is bright with image.”

Iris Cushing