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Book Cover for: Go Figure, Rae Armantrout

Go Figure

Rae Armantrout

Keen, pithy meditations on a world that continues to surprise us

The poems in Pulitzer Prize-winner Rae Armantrout's new book are concerned with "this ongoing attempt/ to catalog the world" in a time of escalating disasters. From the bird who "check-marks morning/once more//like someone who gets up/to make sure// the door is locked" to bat-faced orchids, raising petals like light sails as if about to take flight, these poems make keen visual and psychological observations. The title Go Figure speaks to the book's focus on the unexpected, the strange, and the seemingly incredible so that: "We name things/ to know where we are." Moving with the deliberate precision that is a hallmark of Armantrout's work, they limn and refract, questioning how we make sense of the world, and ultimately showing how our experience of reality is exquisitely enfolded in words. "It's true things fall apart." Armantrout writes. 'Still, by thinking/we heat ourselves up."

Sample Text



the way a crab's slender
stand straight up

from its scuttling

the way vigilance
takes many forms?


That bird check-marks morning
once more

like someone who gets up
to make sure

the door is locked.


I sound
like I know
what I'm talking about.

I sound like a comedian.

Book Details

  • Publisher: Wesleyan University Press
  • Publish Date: Aug 6th, 2024
  • Pages: 120
  • Language: English
  • Dimensions: 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00in - 0.00lb
  • EAN: 9780819500793
  • Categories: American - GeneralSubjects & Themes - General

About the Author

RAE ARMANTROUT is the award-winning author of eighteen books of poetry, most recently Finalists and Conjure. Her collection Versed won a National Book Award. a National Book Critics Circle Award and a Pulitzer Prize. Her work has appeared in countless anthologies including Best American Poetry, In The American Tree and Language Poetries.

Praise for this book

"There is surely an inquisitive nowness in her timeless poems, a willingness to engage with Guy Debord's spectacle or to completely ignore it, and a thrilling ability to transport William Carlos Williams's iconic red wheelbarrow into an uninhibited, semantic, seismic, motionless playground."--David Moscovich, Rain Taxi, reviewing a previous edition or volume

"If Armantrout shows a new attention to aging and death in the COVID era, her aim is to gain insight and epiphany through the kind of astringent, epistemological estrangements that her work has long mastered. While death is a central theme in this work, Finalists emanates the radiant astonishment of living thought."--David Woo, The Poetry Foundation, reviewing a previous edition or volume

"Call it modernism, postmodernism, constructivism, avant-garde, or a mix. What we encounter are minimalistic, fragmentary structures that make the whole by breaking the whole."--Grace Cavalieri, Washington Independent Review of Books, reviewing a previous edition or volume