Sentences and Rain

Poetry by Elaine Equi

Equi’s poems are under the breath asides from your cleverest friend—witty, thoughtful, and wry.

October 2015
6 x 9 | 112 Pages
Trade Paper

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ISBN: 978-1-56689-421-0.



Elaine Equi’s poems are asides from your cleverest friend, taking on the world with wit, confidence, and the ease of a writer fully in command of her powers. She writes “We are the excess of the story—that which it cannot contain” and in short, memorable lines that excess pops into relief, suddenly captured, visible.

Elaine Equi’s Ripple Effect: New & Selected Poems was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize and on the short list for Canada’s prestigious Griffin Poetry Prize. Widely published and anthologized, her work has appeared in the New Yorker, Poetry, the American Poetry Review, the Nation, and numerous volumes of The Best American Poetry. She teaches at New York University, and in the MFA Programs at the New School and the City College of New York.


“Elaine Equi’s signature wit shines in Sentences and Rain, where the wry wisdom of her lines lingers beneath their cleverness. Equi’s poems are as keenly perceptive and intelligent as they are playful—one of most delightful collections of the year.” —BuzzFeed, “The 16 Best Poetry Books of 2015″

“Witty and zen-like. . . . Each poem in this collection does the same thing. They build in insight and delight. Sentences and Rain is truly a masterwork that deserves to be read and disseminated through the population and through time.” —NewPages

“Equi relishes the stark, overlooked beauty of the quotidian in her curious, winding, fanciful 13th collection.” Publishers Weekly

“[Equi is] genuinely funny—like all genuine humorists, she has depth, she picks targets, she’s patient, she takes aim. . . . Equi gives us several drawing boards’ worth of characters, or friendly caricatures, framed in a wry, almost lighthearted nostalgia.” —American Poets

“Equi is here to remind us that our relationship to the objects in our lives can invite us to play, and to engender a new language: private, public, or something in between.” —Coldfront

“This bold and polished book of poetry is refreshing in its language and startling in its images. From the expected to the surprising, Equi has a sharp eye for detail in the world around her, and a keen way of capturing the moment for readers.” —Manhattan Book Review

“This collection will add breadth and depth to any personal library. The breezy tone of these thoughtfully crafted poems belies their underlying seriousness. . . . Equi’s elegantly charged sentences will continue to reverberate in the mind and in the heart.” —New York Journal of Books

“Equi invites the reader to join her in spaces where the surreal becomes commonplace, where reality gives way to magical realism. . . . In these liminal spaces, she suggests there is both/and, reality and magic, and the reader does not have to choose either/or.” —Boston Review

“On every page of Sentences and Rain, Elaine Equi’s latest collection of poetry, you will find . . . pages thrumming with the activity of an original imagination.” —KGB Bar Lit Magazine

“[Equi’s poetry is] a gentle exercise in verbal gymnastics which delights the intelligence while at the same time not taking things too seriously. She stretches our imagination by writing lines that constantly surprise us and then makes us pause, as if holding a position, in order to ponder their meaning.” —Galatea Resurrects

“Reading Elaine Equi’s newest collection is akin to snorkeling a reef of small wonders. . . . In one breath-taking poem after another, Equi explores the most fragile, temporal, and minute—and carves astonishing figures.” —Rain Taxi

“In this tense and terse collection of verse, the poet diminishes language and Western culture to its essence, the distilled acidity of its very bones.” —Red Paint Hill

“If you can imagine it, you can probably find it here in one of Equi’s lists of objects both real and surreal.” Library Journal

“These spare yet elegant poems are electric, suave, and original. Equi so ably demonstrates a purity of sensibility coupled with peerless brilliance that we are left breathless as we read.” The Journal (West Virginia)

“[Equi's] writing is both fluid and agile; there’s a free-flowing quality to it but also a sense of composed wit. Equi’s collection is an unabashed celebration of the pleasures of language.” —Harvard Crimson

“It’s hard not to notice the collection’s duality, how it can swerve between emotion and intellect, between lyricism and something like H.D.’s imagism. This is a surprising, fully rendered collection from a poet at the top of her game.” —Erica Wright, poetry editor of Guernica

“There’s something undeniably hip about Equi’s poetry, not a ‘cooler than thou’ attitude, but a wry humor, a sly wisdom.” —Postcard Reviews

“If there is a secret joy informing Equi’s poetry, it is in the way she accepts the world as it is, without quarrel and without illusions except those that are sanctioned by art. Like a still-life specialist she gets you to see not only the red flesh of the watermelon but the beauty of the black seeds on it.” —Best American Poetry

Praise for Elaine Equi

“Whether celebrating clones or revising Led Zeppelin, Equi melds verse with aphorism, wisdom with wicked playfulness.” —Entertainment Weekly

“Equi sees a world that’s brighter than the rest of ours—one that’s razor-smart and beautiful just where we don’t expect it. Sparrows and hexagons. Glass air and blood orange sorbet. She gives us these things in their startling reality and ‘uncontaminated by ideas of any kind.’ But she also gives us ideas, startling in their continuous opening. Here is a poet who clearly loves the world, sees its humor, and is able to grasp it again and again, always differently, always capturing one if its single, essential lines.” —Cole Swensen

“Elaine Equi is a brilliant element, a sly observer, a wise and wry soothsayer and yep, sometimes just a ‘wiseguy.’ She’s also a trustworthy interlocutor and we can trust her to blow our circuits. An accomplished formalist, with percision, daring, and grace coupled with uncanny devotional vision, Equi continues to get away with miracles no one else does. She’s killer.” —Peter Gizzi