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by Evelyn Reilly

In her provocatively innovative and innovatively provocative collection, Echolocation, Evelyn Reilly sounds out a techno-saturated world that perhaps we already occupy. She refuses easy answers or evaluations: animals are processed into food in brutal ways and the boundaries of person- and species-hood are expanded and exploded, while new forms of life and collectivity emerge. Bodies, of organism and of text, are ever-shifting, accumulating new modes of signification and habitation. The text becomes a habitat. Ever resourceful, Reilly interrogates “the natural” without discarding it. Instead, she ushers in an Anthropocene poetics that refuses hierarchical differentiation between the ecological and the technological; neither is demon or savior.

Seamlessly weaving together feminist posthuman theory with zoological report with Melville texts, Echolocation is a cyborg organism, made of parts created and found, and exudes a dynamism that cannot be reduced to collage alone. “The biodegradability of these thought patterns” she writes, “Animality in the best sense of the word / Everyone keeps moving.” The poetry indeed keeps on moving as machinery and ecosystem in which the word and the world overflow with a capacious posthumanism – “A thesis / on the river.”

In this hybrid text, a porosity of concepts, bodies, and texts generates new forms, meanings, and socialities, and the same porosity that renders entities vulnerable to domination and separation also offers visions of escape. This book does not ask how can we live together. Instead, Echolocation begins from a stance that questions whether we were ever separate to begin with, and from there orients toward an ethics of conviviality. How do we live in this condition of togetherness, of a borderless self? In Echolocation the reader is given the gift of finding a place “among other fugitive / super-permeable / spokescreatures.”

People are saying:

ECHOLOCATION refreshes one's sense of the thrilling necessity of poetry. Dedicated to “all those who navigate by sound in the dark,” it's clearly meant for us. That includes the whale, the bat, the frog, the river, “the word water on the river,” “(the lamb the god the pork chop),” all the “decibels/of the animal.” That is, the improbable evolutionary bounty we can thank for—among all else—our multifarious, ardently curious, startlingly ingenious human Selves. Reilly’s opening tour-de-force, titled “Self,” is a suite of seven constantly surprising poems at play with her uniquely grave humor, now and then edging toward irony, moderated by piquant specimens from oddly germane texts—literary, philosophical, scientific. Increasingly manifest is Reilly‘s stunning poethical QED, conducted like a lepidopterist’s outing in the Anthropocene: spotting, not netting, paradoxical fragilities of metamorphic selves: selves and echos of selves attempting to locate one another.
Joan Retallack

This moving book finds the haggard, cartoonish, cathartic, underemployed lyric Self as advance scout, now carrying pelt and scavenging in the Internet rain as “storms of another / Other roll in.” Evelyn Reilly’s keen senses are electric as she transforms the device of echolocation into the primary means for navigating among the dark fantasies of our moment. These poems bring all of us a little closer to a shared planetary poetics, to “decibels / of the animal,” and to the limit of the Self’s shelf life.
Joshua Schuster

About the Author:

Evelyn Reilly lives and writes in New York City. Her previous books include Apocalypso and Styrofoam, also published by Roof Books; Hiatus, from Barrow Street Press, and Fervent Remnants of Reflective Surfaces, from Portable Press at Yo Yo Labs.

144 pages
ISBN: 978-1-931824-75-0
Publication date: March 2018


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by Evelyn Reilly

Evelyn Reilly’s most recent book of poetry, Apocaplyso, continues the dystopic re-working of poetry about the biosphere that she began in Styrofoam (Roof Books, 2009). Reilly’s new work eschews form for contour, syntax for taxonomy, and content for thematics. A lot of writers essay new nature poetry. Reilly changes the nature of poetry by reflecting structures of the environment in her poetic performance. Apocalypso ends poetry as we know it with a bang.

Evelyn Reilly’s Apocalypso floats a cobbled kind of futurist voyage that moves by belief and uncovered loss to quickly deliver an overwhelming sensation (allegory) that as in Tarkovsky’s Solaris we are on this journey too and have no hope (and want none) of getting off it. Turning these pages we discover that the museum of the future is a ship and Evelyn Reilly is scribbling our fate.
- Eileen Myles

“Who, if I cried out, would hear me amid the mechanic orders? Well, if you listen closely, faint yet clear signals are being emitted from Evelyn Reilly’s Apocalypso wherein fragments of information technologies now dispersed in the ether create haunting assemblages of ourselves. Fascinating!"
- Marjorie Welish

“Site-specific used to mean how deeply something was embedded in a land¬scape; now it refers to how thoroughly you’re being data-mined. Evelyn Reilly’s Apocalypso playfully speaks a twisted techno-bureaucratese in which alienation threatens to become the norm, and we’ve never been further from our dreams: ‘I am so lonely / I've been talking to my software / for three years.’ Amid a language of climatological meltdown lifted from the Book of Revelation, Reilly astutely uses moments of transient beauty and a sense of humor to remind us that human beings still remain the primary interface in an increasingly post-human age.”
- Alan Gilbert

Evelyn Reilly lives and writes in New York City. Her previous books include Styrofoam, also published by Roof Books, Hiatus, from Barrow Street Press, and Fervent Remnants of Reflective Surfaces, from Portable Press at YoYo Labs.

112 pages
ISBN: 978-1-931824-45-3
Publication date: April 2012


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by Evelyn Reilly

In this tour de force of applied poetics, Reilly casts a "clear dome over the fake snowstorm" of human spirit, and sings the body plastic. If polymers have a destiny, as the ultimate Ideal Material, Reilly be their phenomenologist, synthesizing domains out of "the multiplicity of foam and foam¹s conditions," spirit¹s antithesis to the human comedy, and animal tragedy, of extinction. Can we avoid such an Inferno, say "goodnight styrene," without examining the broken dust of our lingo, the abhorrent force of plasticity? Can poetry be more than Paradise with a plastic garden at the end of it? Let Reilly be our guide through this Purgatory of partial objects, let lux arise from a sea of foam. A solvent book for unabsolvable times.
- Jonathan Skinner

"A vast Sargasso sea of plastic fragments the size of a continent has been discovered in the Pacific Ocean. How do we go about living in what Evelyn Reilly defines as 'our infinite plasticity prosperity plentitude' and still have room for poetry? STYROFOAM might just show us how to do this. It's a wonderful, mad, challenging itinerary."
- John Ashbery

72 pages
ISBN: 978-1-931824-32-3
Publication date: April 2009


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