A collection of power and humor in earthy eroticism, invoking both the fever and hope in wakeful dreams. A bold work of the elegiac past and the visceral present converging in provocative imagery. There is often an undercurrent of longing in Chase’s poems—the longing of hunger, of sex, of unfinished business with the dead. Central to the collection is the title poem, a spiraling nightmare that explores the messy and terrifying commingling of religion, death and history’s unpardonable sins.
Karen Chase’s poems modulate from the humorous to the erotic, and then to the elegiac…All is held together by her skill and intensity. No line sleeps in these poems in which moments of real experience are isolated and made incandescent.
— Billy Collins
An actual tour through Poland…culminated in the demonic astonishments of “Kazimierz Square,” the long poem that give this collection its title. Strong stuff it undoubtedly is…I have a natural admiration for the raw power of its demonic imagery. But that raw power ought not to mislead a reader as to the distinctive cadence of the language itself. Karen Chase’s gift for turning a phrase, her ear for the throaty music to be found in the lower registers of English speech, are uniquely hers, to be listened for with pleasure.
— Amy Clampitt
Lyric and eros armed with a “tattered” shield of humor—Karen Chase is present in her life and our times.
— Andrei Codrescu
Paul set the bags down, told how they had split
the deer apart, the ease of peeling it
simpler than skinning a fruit, how the buck
lay on the worktable, how they sawed
an anklebone off, the smell not rank.
The sun slipped into night.
Where are you I wondered as I grubbed
through cupboards for noodles at least.
Then came venison new with blood,
stray hair from the animal’s fur.
Excited, we cooked the meat.
Later, I dreamt against your human chest,
you cloaked me in your large arms, then
went for me the way you squander food sometimes.
By then, I was eating limbs in my sleep, somewhere
in the snow alone, survivor of a downed plane,
picking at the freshly dead. Whistles
Of a far off flute – legs, gristle, juice.
I cracked an elbow against a rock, awoke.
throughout the night, we consumed and consumed.
Trade paper – 6 X 9.5