The Sleeve Waves
Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry
Ronald Wallace, Series Editor
Winner of the 2014 Felix Pollak Prize in Poetry, selected by Naomi Shihab Nye
Outstanding Work of Poetry, Wisconsin Literary Awards, Wisconsin Library Association
Inspired by thrift store knit sleeves, punk rock record sleeves, and, of course, print book sleeves, Angela Sorby explores how the concrete world hails us in waves of color and sound. She asks implicitly, “What makes the sleeve wave? Is it the body or some force larger than the self?” As Sorby’s tough, ironic, and subtly political voice repeatedly insists, we apprehend, use, and release more energy than we can possibly control. This collection includes two main parts—one visual, one aural—flanking a central pastoral poem sung by Virgilian sheep. Meant to be read both silently and aloud, the poems in The Sleeve Waves meditate on how almost everything—like light and sound—comes to us in waves that break and vanish and yet continue.
Angela Sorby is an associate professor of English at Marquette University. She is the author of three books: Distance Learning: Poems; Schoolroom Poets: Childhood, Performance, and the Place of American Poetry; and Bird Skin Coat, winner of the 2009 Brittingham Prize in Poetry.
“Sometimes, if you’re very patient and a little lucky, a set of truly original poems will jolt you upright again, and you will read their unexpected, eccentric turns, their mesmerizing content and cadence, with gratitude and amazement and feel so glad you’re still alive.”
—Naomi Shihab Nye, Felix Pollak Prize judge
“Has anyone written a funnier, more terrifying poem about Sylvia Plath than ‘Epistle’? Or caught the delicate complexities among generations better than ‘A Walk on the Ice’? From Seattle to Wisconsin to Hunan, these poems register the inscape and soundscape of a mind both ferocious and generous.”
“Angela Sorby’s poems move quickly, yet they contain depths: ‘there’s a new world floating / behind the painting,’ as one says. If happiness lurks beneath sadness and vice versa, that’s the point: these supple, savvy poems say the world is richer than we know and infinitely more beautiful.”
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LC: 2013027994 PS
90 pp. 7 x 9