This event will be held at our 9th Ave. location.
Praise for Rail
"Rail is a lovely book, strong and inspired." ―Robert Bly
"This is a wholly unique and powerful collection of poems. The sense of purpose puts one in mind of Whitman’s 'Song of the Open Road.' Encounters with fellow vagabonds recalls the tramp-poetry of Vachel Lindsay. But the darker need to search for meaning in the American plains and points farther west―a vastness forlorn and almost unknowable―belongs to the particular vision of this poet. His journey through our national ambiguity discovers a flicker in our roots, a spark popping from obscurity that rises into the heavens. The lived experience behind these deft and subtle poems seems necessary, and reiterates the fact that resilience is not only a feature of the American character, it is a recurring tenet of American art." ―Maurice Manning
"Brotherly love, a sense of displacement and lost time, and the deep care that reminds us of our humanity, form the heart of this book. These poems are a scavengers guide, a survivalist manifesto, a reminder of the way our daily experiences can fuel and forge our faith. A hauntingly beautiful and unusual debut." ―Dorianne Laux
"Equal parts dithyramb and lament, the great American bardic tradition celebrates lonesome wandering even as it hungers for enduring communion. Kai Carlson-Wee is a worthy inheritor of its dusty mantle, worn by Whitman and Kerouac before him, and Rail is a moving testament to the territories of freight trains, Minnesota roads, dumpster diving, and brotherhood. 'The road goes on. With or without us.' Yes, but how much better to have this unforgettable music to guide the way." ―Campbell McGrath
Set against a landscape of rail yards and skate parks, Kai Carlson-Wee’s debut collection captures a spiritual journey of wanderlust, depression, brotherhood, and survival. These poems―a “verse novella” in documentary form―build momentum as they travel across the stark landscapes of the American West: hopping trains through dusty prairie towns, swapping stories with mystics and outlaws, skirting the edges of mountains and ridges, heading ever westward to find meaning in the remnants of a ruined Romantic ideal. Part cowboy poet, part prophet, Carlson-Wee finds beauty in the grit and kinship among strangers along the road.
Praise for I Know Your Kind
"William Brewer's exquisite I Know Your Kind is a rare confluence of addiction and surrender in an unsung American landscape. The poems brilliantly attend to the world with surreal lyricism, bitterly truthful narratives, and an ache that's eased by the thing that saves: language. This work quakes and blooms and dares us to try to resist the world's grace."―Ada Limón
"Brewer's collection is a prime example for what can be accomplished when a poetical praxis is used to implement large and tricky-to-wield questions, particularly by moving outward to thoroughly probe an epidemic as it effects a state, a region, a people―as well as the individual. It holds our gazes to the underbelly and shows us that here, too, the imagination thrives and, like all undeniable art, is written in spite of all the things that work to silence it."―Ocean Vuong
“Rooted in rural Appalachia, electric with insight and music, William Brewer’s poems explore the wreckage of addiction. In language that’s luminous and surreal, he makes visible the fractured lives of people moving in and out of halfway houses, pain clinics, and gymnasiums ‘full of coffins / full of smaller coffins / full of Oxys.’ The poems are elegiac, viscerally present, and reveal the interiority of those struggling at the margins of our society. Brewer is an immensely gifted poet. I Know Your Kind is a commanding debut.”―Eduardo C. Corral
About I Know Your Kind
Selected for the National Poetry Series by Ada Limón, I Know Your Kind is a haunting, blistering debut collection about the American opioid epidemic and poverty in rural Appalachia.
In West Virginia, fatal overdoses on opioids have spiked to three times the national average. In these poems, William Brewer demonstrates an immersive, devastating empathy for both the lost and the bereaved, the enabled and the enabler, the addict who knocks late at night and the brother who closes the door. Underneath and among this multiplicity of voices runs the Appalachian landscape―a location, like the experience of drug addiction itself, of stark contrasts: beauty and ruin, nature and industry, love and despair.
Uncanny, heartbreaking, and often surreal, I Know Your Kind is an unforgettable elegy for the people and places that have been lost to opioids.
Set against a landscape of rail yards and skate parks, Kai Carlson-Wee's debut collection captures a spiritual journey of wanderlust, depression, brotherhood, and survival.
Selected for the National Poetry Series by Ada Lim n, I Know Your Kind is a haunting, blistering debut collection about the American opioid epidemic and poverty in rural Appalachia.