Poetry by Marjorie Welish
May 11, 2021 • 6 x 9 • 128 pages • 978-1-56689-608-5
In A Complex Sentence, Marjorie Welish builds immersive intertextual environments as she questions the canon of modernist poetry and the ways we talk about poetics.
In her sixth collection with Coffee House, Welish continues to explore rhetorical practices, such as diagramming, inscription, and quotation, to call our attention to literary acts—from finding the right desk to getting lost at logic gates—yet all the while following the mental circuitry of dismantling and re-assembling a poetic language. Expertly manipulating the space of the page, her poems dissolve the boundaries between visual art and the written word. With her signature precision, musicality, and structural rigor, Welish turns the lyric poem into a critical instrument with which to think about the writer’s calling, through the specifics of language and literature.
About the Author
A Complex Sentence, the sixth book of poems by Marjorie Welish to be published by Coffee House Press, received fellowship support from the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation and St. Edmund’s College, University of Cambridge. For her arts and critical practice, she has received a Fulbright Senior Scholarship, which has taken her to the University of Frankfurt and to the Edinburgh College of Art. Papers delivered on her arts practices at a conference at the University of Pennsylvania are compiled in Of the Diagram: The Work of Marjorie Welish. Signifying Art: Essays on Art after 1960 is a book of her art criticism. A Work, and . . ., in which she is interviewed by Lilly Wei, is the most extensive catalogue of her art. She will be featured in the Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design’s exhibition “Then as Now: Woodland Pattern 1980-2020” from January 11 - March 13, 2021.
Praise for A Complex Sentence
Praise for Marjorie Welish
“[Welish’s] writing is marked by the legacies of multiple modernisms and by sly misprisions and recursions, an obsession with logical forms that flip abruptly into their shadow selves.” —BOMB
“Welish’s poetry, like [Thelonious] Monk’s music, is a montage of moving parts in which you’d be wise to expect the unexpected. . . . Welish is sharp about the muddle that is almost everyone’s daily lot.” —Hyperallergic
“Welish’s poems do for language what great abstract paintings do for paint.” —No: A Journal of the Arts
“Welish’s diction is relentlessly, maddeningly, dazzlingly abstract. . . . The result is a cerebral music that offers, for those willing to spend real time, a commensurate reward.” —Kirkus
“Wrenching, obdurate music. There may be no known correspondences for Marjorie Welish’s mind. The poems neither describe nor situate but compose and construct. The procedures are odd but the materials quite embodied. . . . She’s a little bit scary.” —C. D. Wright
“[Marjorie Welish’s work] has both sensuality and really dazzling conceptual rigor.” —Culture Industry
“For Welish, as with the Alice Notley of Descent of Alette, cordoned off words and phrases imply a poised and thoughtful consciousness, caught in the midst of intellective and amusing animations of things and thought.” —Publishers Weekly
“Ferocious, sometimes hilarious and always provocative. . . . No one has ever written like Marjorie Welish.” —Poetry Project Newsletter
“Welish’s usual practice is ‘not to trust language,’ which makes her work bumpy, real, alive. . . . A poet of ‘the insistent now,’ Welish is sensitive to the chora; let her get wind of a chaoid and she’s off.” —Lana Turner