Out of stock

ISBN: 978-1-62557-905-8
Categories Poetry

1001 Facts of Prehistoric Life

Publication Date: September 2014


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Called “a fossil record of the collective unconscious” 1001 Facts of Prehistoric Life is the work of a small-c creationist whose daring poems find and confound unholy, missing links between Darwinian survival and Scheherazadian untruths; between lies that bind and those that-after whatever our species or fashion-liberate us to take delight in, if not to forestall, our ineluctable demise.


“With wit and with heart, Jo Ann Clark’s 1001 Facts of Prehistoric Life boldly revises the taxonomies of our personal and collective destinies. In the strata of her precise, canny poems, she entwines natural history and private life, menageries and congeries, the mythic and the quotidian, and that strong braid shimmers with genuine intelligence and urgency. This is a rich, daring debut.”

-Robert Farnsworth

Jo Ann Clark’s poetry is formally strenuous, hinged and re-hinged with lexical play, and it is through these exertions of language that her poems track the difficult terrains of longing and suffering. Her recent work excavates a fossil record of the collective unconscious, relying not on metaphor, but on a kind of tangential algorithm for the-way-we-live-now. One poem explains that ‘To hold/ the window to the frame/ we rely on friction/ or poker-faced fictions/ or the sheer habit of things/ to keep themselves/ together’. Clark’s poetry unearths these fictions and frictions, the utterances that comprise the work of being, by turns messy and honed, wry and vulnerable-all of it, as she writes in ‘Scheherezade in Iceland,’ – ‘irresistibly inconvenient.'”

-B.K. Fischer

Here is a poet eager or at least willing to abide by The Facts, i.e. her synonyms for erotic propositions, whenever they turn up and however volatile. She maintains, in her Scheherazade periods, that her much younger sister Dinarzade, hiding under a bed in the royal chamber, divulges such things. Such tales. Not since the inspired observations of the late Amy Clampitt have I heard the like, though Jo Ann Clark is not so garrulous as that lady (nor so ladylike either, which will probably make things easier for Ms Clark’s readers). I don’t mean nastier; if I mean anything it is probably undesigning. But surely it’s The Facts that count.”

– Richard Howard

About the Author

© Michaela Neumann, Studioline Photography

Jo Ann Clark

Jo Ann Clark is the author of poems, translations, and critical reviews. Her work has been anthologized in Hot Sonnets and Reactions4 New Poetry and has appeared in many online and print journals. She holds degrees from Bates College and Columbia University and has taught at Bank Street College, St. Stephen’s School in Rome, and The School of the Art Institute of Chicago. Clark is currently writing new poems and co-authoring her first play.

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