Systems Thinking with Flowers
Author: Krystal Languell
Publisher: Fonograf Editons (2022)
Chosen by Rae Armantrout as the winner of the 2019 Fonograf Editions Open Genre Book Prize, Systems Thinking with Flowers is a poetry collection about conspiring to do right within the constraints of inherited structures. Languell's text critiques unearned authority in its many guises. In two sections, the book chronicles the complex emotional gymnastics required for existence in male-dominated and colonialist environments, such as professional sports, museums, and other institutions. Foreword by Rae Armantrout.
"It is no surprise that Krystal Languell is a baseball fan, as this collection is itself a shutout, a perfect game, an artist channeling the higher self in every moment. The arsenal of work on display here covers the full range. Some of the poems are locked in fastballs straight and true, others are sliders, curveballs and change ups that catch you unready, and every so often one comes screaming at your brainpan to move you back off the bag you were crowding with expectation and assumption. I’m calling it now, Languell is taking the pennant in four this year."
"What happens when a woman writes a baseball poem or a book full of them? In Systems Thinking with Flowers, Languell does just that and delivers a sharp and witty collection that will appeal to baseball fans and non-fans alike. In her skilled hands and confident voice, Languell crafts an atmosphere of sport and play, and makes the language of broadcasts and analysis exciting and new. This book is filled with poems that are lively, imaginative, and smart–all riding an undercurrent of tough love, like the rare baseball manager who always tells it straight."
"Masterfully linking multiple surroundings seamlessly, Krystal Languell’s fourth collection invites us to take a hard look at womanhood, competition and impulse. In this book Languell is as provocative as she is tender: “When I cry at a ceremony, I hate it a little, but I wish I hated it more.” Systems Thinking with Flowersexplores the most unique sensations that exist in our daily life, basking in the 9th inning."