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ISBN: 978-1-62557-001-7
Categories Poetry

Waiting for Achilles

Publication Date: June 2019


Listen to Jo Sarzotti read for the Black Lawrence Press Virtual Reading Series // Watch the captioned video on the BLP YouTube Channel


In her stunning new book of visionary poems, Waiting For Achilles, the poet, Jo Sarzotti, intimately explores those caught moments of our deepest, pained humanness-irretrievable loss, existential terror, the forever unforgivable-and, too, those ecstatic encounters with beauty and releases of joy that take our breath away.

-Emily Fragos

Sarzotti uses language to say all that is beautiful is not pretty: Sometimes it’s terrifying. We open every book we read with a certain amount of expectancy. We know it will be a settling of accounts, a construction of some vitality; however, it’s rare to be touched every second by the raw uncompromising psyche and therefore it’s impossible not to listen to this writer.

-Grace Cavalieri

As if cut through, cut with, the edge of a blade, these poems excavate for beauty, unbury for pain and present the condensed essence of both (“So much pain/such a small shadow on the bone”). Ancient feuds, flawed gods and humans, a personal mythology of horse (“His deep animal eye/holds a part of me/I won’t get back”)-all enact a violent concision, an exactitude, line by line, image by image, swerve by swerve. This is a book of strife and shiver and transformation-thrilling to read and a joy to contemplate.

-Joan Houlihan

About the Author

© Michael Parmelee

Jo Sarzotti

Jo Sarzotti is the author of two books of poems, Mother Desert (Bakeless Prize winner, Graywolf Press 2012) and Waiting for Achilles (Black Lawrence Press). Her work has appeared in PloughsharesSouthwest Review, Radar, Tupelo QuarterlyDenver QuarterlyAlaska QuarterlyNorth American ReviewPerihelionBorderlands, and in the anthologies The Traveler’s Vade Mecum (Red Hen Press 2016) and Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Every Occasion (Abrams 2015)She lives in New York City where she directs the Liberal Arts Department at The Juilliard School and hosts the Three Muses Reading Series.

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