PUBLISHING PARTNER OF SEAGULL BOOKS | DISTRIBUTED BY THE CHICAGO DISTRIBUTION CENTER

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Books distributed by the Chicago Distribution Center

88 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2024

ISBN (pbk): 978-1-946724-80-9

Pre-order Only
Will publish October 2024

The Alcestis Machine

Poems

Carolyn Oliver

In Greek mythology, Alcestis descends to the mysterious kingdom of death in her beloved’s place. In The Alcestis Machine, Carolyn Oliver’s second poetry collection, loss and queer desire echo across the multiverse. “In another life, I’m a . . .” sea witch or swineherd, vampire or troubadour, florist or fossil or museum guard, Oliver writes. These parallel personas inhabit space stations and medieval villages, excavate the Devonian seabed, and plumb a subterranean Anthropocene. In possible futures and imagined pasts, they might encounter “all wrong turns and broken signs” or carry “a suitcase full of stars.”

Oliver’s poems are animated by lush, unsettling verse and forms both traditional and experimental. The Alcestis Machine demonstrates how very present absence can be and how desire knows no boundaries. In neighborhood subdivisions or the vast reaches of space, it’s impossible to know “whose time is slipping / again.” Anyone “could come loose / from gravity’s shine.”

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About the Author

Carolyn Oliver is the author of Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble. Her most recent chapbook is Night Ocean. Born in Buffalo and raised in Ohio, she now lives with her family in Massachusetts. Her website is carolynoliver.net.

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Photo Credit: Benjamin Oliver