Release: After Our Departure

On sale today!

After Our Departure, by Ben Cartwright
winner of the Powder Horn Prize, selected by Nance Van Winckel
featuring original cover and interior art by printmaker Lindsey Merrell


In her introduction, Nance says

What first struck me as I read Ben Cartwright’s poems was the scintillating language. Even when bravely addressing the ho-hum moments of drudgery in daily living, Cartwright employs a certain muscularity and musicality. In fact, reading these poems I often felt myself teetering between extremes I recognize from actual life: energy/vitality/buoyancy vs. duty/stasis/entropy. The poems pace the long plank of these mental and emotional states, and even as we hover and balance near the fulcrum, we sense what’s on either side, what looms, what awaits.

Washington state poet laureate Tod Marshall:

“Nothing takes flight from me again,” a speaker in one of Cartwright’s poems announces, and the ongoing struggle against Romantic airiness propels this book.  And yet: the poems never fully embrace this declaration, never fully abandon the possibility of flight.  Which is to say:  the poet is smart, funny, and appropriately suspicious of his making.  Which is to say:  the poems in this book challenge, entertain, and compel readers to think and rethink expectations (of the poems, poet, and poetry).  There are sonically snap-chatty moments blisteringly aware of their sonic smirky-ness: “Still, I is shrill. / I flits in this, / pissing blight. / I is birthright.” There are imagistic and tender moments abashedly peeping from the pages.  And oh, did I mention that there are wacky and memorable illustrations, bizzaro voices, and formal dexterity to boot?  There are also no easy solutions to the tensions Cartwright explores; just “because we’re bored down here” and good things “take a little bit of time” should we abandon the possibility of “flight?”  As the title of the collection suggests, these poems resonate after their departure:  what more can one ask of a work of art?

Click here to order your copy today!

Or, if you are in Spokane, come to Auntie’s at 7:00 p.m. tonight to hear Ben read from the book.

Release: After Our Departure