THE JITTERS (horse less press, July 2015)
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Anne Cecelia Holmes’ The Jitters constructs an “I” that wobbles between a dangerous and endangered outer world and an estrangement from its own interior, seeking to rebuild a past it can barely recall via maps it has forgotten how to read. In clean, ritualistic sentences that “travel by assembly line,” the speaker announces the security breach. This is an American “I” in the era of terror, breaking it down in a tone whose wit is born of trauma and whose metaphors, like lost children, seek signification. This collection is pitch-perfect, a sustained masterpiece of alienation and hunger.
—Diane Seuss, author of Frank: sonnets (winner of the Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the National Book Critics Circle Award for Poetry)
There’s a beautiful epigraph that invites us into The Jitters: “… am I a monster or is this what it means to be a person?” The jitters, the junk, the pain, the fortitude to remain here as “a new creature /… brave enough / to be wounded.” Anne Cecelia Holmes has the courage to say carefully, and measure shrewdly; to sing sadly, and sing boldly. To paraphrase her: hold your breath, read this book. Her poems don’t flinch or back away from our darkest thoughts.
—Dara Wier, author of Tolstoy Killed Anna Karenina