Cease by Beth Bachmann

$17.00 University of Pittsburgh

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This stunning, startling collection is a book of walls and wars. Wars—in the world, in the body—are fought for, are yearned to be outside of, all the while being constrained by walls: the metaphorical ones of relationships and desires, the physical ones as border to each page, the wall-poems standing watch over each section. As the book’s title claims, the speaker searches for any sort of cessation while interrogating what’s done for peace along the way. These interrogations aren’t straightforward questionings but poems that coil into themselves through breathless borders between ocean and land, horse and human. These poems slip between the unabashed and the unexpected, as do their titlessee: “nectarine & leather (riot)”—into a space that’s uncomfortable and necessary. This book commands: listen to the private. Listen to the bell and the bird. Listen to the sniper, the gentleman, the child. Keep listening.

—Abi Pollokoff