The University of Wisconsin Press



The Mouths of Grazing Things
Jennifer Boyden

The Brittingham Prize in Poetry

Ronald Wallace, General Editor

Winner of the 2010 Brittingham Prize in Poetry, selected by Robert Pinsky

The Mouths of Grazing Things
is an unflinching, lyrical meditation on nature's forced exodus from the human, and the forms of longing, estrangement, magnetism, and self-otherness that ensue. Arrestingly tender and fiercely protective of where nature lurks in and out of us still, Boyden translates for a new landscape where a brain in a jar is anchored by an apple, a fly-tying fisherman finds love songs to fish scattered among the barber's sweepings, and the players at "the most dangerous playground in the world" prepare for anything with one fist clenched and the other full of sugar. In poems built to survive an unsafe journey, this book delivers the now-beyond, the almost-was, the near-forgotten, and the just-in-time.

I dedicate this fly to the fish
of the fallen river. It is a poem
of hook and shank and feather.
It sinks like a bone, casts
like the logic of knives.
The song of my own hair, it is
how I call them from their stones.

"In a clear, muscular language loaded with precise revealing metaphor, Jennifer Boyden delivers a world. These are poems of a mature poet deeply engaged with her environment, demonstrating again and again the power of language to surprise and delight in moments of true insight."—Sam Hamill

Jennifer Boyden, a Minnesota native, lives in Washington State and teaches literature and writing. Her poetry has appeared in journals such as The Paris Review, Ploughshares, Cimarron Review, and The Mid-American Review. Boyden's awards include the PEN Northwest writing residency and a Washington State Artist Trust Grant. This is her first full-length collection.

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On the cover of Boyden's book of poems a coyote howls on an outcropping. Yet its voice is fed through a cheerleaders megaphone, strapped to his body with a brass rod through his collar.

March 2010

LC: 2009039720 PS
80 pp.   6 x 9

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Paper $14.95 t
ISBN 978-0-299-23514-7
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“Delightful, that such complexity of mind should be given to us in such lucid packages."
—Albert Goldbarth


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Updated December 29, 2012

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