How the Universe Is Made


How the Universe Is Made
      Poems New & Selected: 1985-2019

Ahsahta Press
forthcoming 2019

“Where to begin? Stephanie Strickland easily ranks among the most forward-looking, rigorous, and evocative poets writing today, and HOW THE UNIVERSE IS MADE is a tour through the poetic universe she continues to bring into existence. From its soulful Big Bang, through perhaps the first serious poetry to explore the emerging implications of the digital age for poetics, to the inner body of her new work, her spare words evoke strong, Emily Dickinson-like responses while generating a contemporary synthesis of scientific, human, and poetic discourses. Prescient then, dead-on relevant to the science saturated now, Stephanie Strickland’s poetry speaks as no other to how we understand our world.”

— Steve Tomasula

“It is startling to realize the scope of what Strickland has achieved in How the Universe Is Made, a lyric intensity from beginning to end never at odds with secure grounding in historical figures like Simone Weil and Willard Gibbs. In this work, there is no exhausted cynicism about language’s work and power, its relationship to comparative thought, contemporary physics, mathematics, or the digital. Rooted in a restless use of metaphor, Strickland's imagination for how tenor and vehicle shift places results in radical ruptures and plays of scale that are Dickinsonian in scope, a kind of tumbling head over heels into a new, vaster, more terrifying framework. The move in her digital work towards readerly intervention invites us to ask—what are the activities, if any, that we can positively and exclusively attribute to the writer or the reader? (The notes she offers here on her digital work are excellent and extremely helpful.) And how funny these poems can be, not only witty but actually funny! The arrangement is illuminating and dimensional, a great accomplishment, a continuous unfolding, a revelation that won’t end.”

— Karen Leona Anderson

“Expanding and complicating body-mind issues, as well as an ongoing foray into how history hides histories, Strickland’s How the Universe Is Made: Poems New & Selected is doing the utmost such work can do—showing not only the trajectory of a thinking over decades of poetic work, but the selections from the books are making their own true book, a traceable concern that widens and deepens and grows more complicated as it progresses. There is wholly a through line, Weil of course, but more, a working through of the feminine in ways bodily, mythically, cosmically, politically. It is powerful and timely. Watching a mind work through formal innovations while maintaining core concerns, deepening thought instead of repeating it, instead of abandoning it—a grand lesson for us all.”

— Dan Beachy-Quick