A Sand Book by Ariana Reines
From Tin House:
Longlisted for the 2019 National Book Award in Poetry
“Her writing is queer and raunchy, raw and occult, seemingly never pulling away from her deepest vulnerabilities. Yet Reines simultaneously maintains a feeling of epic poetry, of ancient intention.” —Diana Arterian, The New York Times
A Sand Book is a poetry collection in twelve parts, a travel guide that migrates from wildfires to hurricanes, tweety bird to the president, lust to aridity, desertification to prophecy, and mother to daughter. It explores the negative space of what is happening to language and to consciousness in our strange and desperate times. From Hurricane Sandy to the murder of Sandra Bland to the massacre at Sandy Hook, from the sand in the gizzards of birds to the desertified mountains of Haiti, from Attar’s “Conference of the Birds” to Chaucer’s “Parliament of Fowls” to Twitter, A Sand Book is about change and quantification, the relationship between catastrophe and cultural transmission. It moves among houses of worship and grocery stores, flitters between geological upheaval and the weird weather of the Internet. In her long-awaited follow-up to Mercury, Reines has written her most ambitious work to date, but also her most visceral and satisfying.