Versed, which won the 2010 Pulitzer Prize for Poetry and the 2010 National Book Critics Circle Award, and was a finalist for the 2009 National Book Award, is filled with “poems under pressure,” or perhaps, “little thought-bombs,” that conceal incisive observations about language, culture and capital underneath their skeletal exterior. Each poem is terse and controlled, and often collaged with fragments seen and heard, made newly uncanny by Armantrout’s pen. With many pieces in Versed written as a reaction to the specter of adrenocortical cancer, the collection takes on added personal resonance. Versed is a musing on the strangeness of contemporary reality as seen through the eyes of one of today’s most creative voices.
This website is structured as online companion for careful readers and teachers of Armantrout’s work. On it, you will find reviews and analysis of Versed, an interview with Rae Armantrout, as well as other works of hers which clarify her poetics and politics, and a reading list that contains works which inspired the text or may help to illuminate it in new ways.
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Versed was published with the support of the National Endowment for the Arts.