by Christina Pugh

“Christina Pugh’s Perception transports us, from its opening starburst of phrases, through ravishing particulars: a landscape of shifting perspective and scale, where the soul is a ‘foliate / flame’ and a ‘breadbox.’ Her noun-trains pulse with the kinetic energy of predicates; her unabashed lyricism and genius for discovering resemblance make us see the world anew — in ‘the necklacing of / taillights’ and ‘the sea turtle furrowing / the water as she fans,’ and in the light on a tree trunk shimmering like sherry in a glass.”

— Phillis Levin


“Each poem in Perception is a strange new invention. In these musically astute, formally assured lines, Christina Pugh makes room for breath, hesitation, and silence. Seductively loosening language from its familiar modes, these poems are less like tightly woven tapestries than they are like fine lace unraveling. Just as important as their visible designs is what we can perceive through them. I already find myself returning often to these beautiful, intricate meditations, grateful for what they release, grateful for what they restore.”

— Mary Szybist


“Pugh’s fourth book contains exquisite short poems devoted to focused observation. Although there is a still-life aspect about what is perceived, including flowers, art, and objects, the poems are alive with movement. White spaces and short lines add to the abbreviated, punctuated, sometimes staccato-like rhythms. But Pugh’s use of associations and metaphors also creates lines of uninterrupted flow. The poems contain highly specific as well as specialized vocabulary that can make what is observed feel almost too magnified or abstract, perhaps like Georgia O’Keefe’s flower paintings. Seven numbered prose sections within the book create timely pauses and provide illumination about the poems and the notion of perception. The ending line of number three seems to summarize Pugh’s aesthetic: Poetry’s work is not to ravish, but diminish. Through her beautiful approach to minimalism, Pugh offers precise musings on objects while simultaneously offering readers the chance to contemplate the poems themselves, which feel like thoughtful prayers or meditations.””—

—Janet St. John, Booklist

Publisher: Four Way Books
Publication Date: March 2017
112 pages. $15.95 paperback
ISBN: 978-1-935536-88-8

Available: Four Way Books, many fine indie book sellers (just ask, please),


CHRISTINA PUGH’s books of poems include Grains of the Voice, Restoration and Rotary, which received the Word Press First Book Prize; and the chapbook Gardening at Dusk. Her poems have appeared widely. Pugh was recently awarded a 2015 John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship to complete her fifth book of poems, Stardust Media. Her honors have also included the Lucille Medwick Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, an individual artist fellowship in poetry from the Illinois Arts Council, the Grolier Poetry Prize, an AWP Intro Journals Award, and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from Poetry. She lives in Evanston, Illinois, is a professor in the Program for Writers at the University of Illinois at Chicago, and Consulting Editor for Poetry magazine.

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