The Intangibles

Poetry by Elaine Equi

November 12, 2019 • 6 x 9 • 112 pages • 978-1-56689-564-4

A witty, inventive, and wry exploration of life—above and beyond the algorithm.

Equi’s poems insist that despite the fact that most of our everyday reality has been rendered accountable and computable, there is still a region of experience that escapes our GPS-mapped consciousness—an intangible realm where poetry is still possible.

About the Author

Elaine Equi's witty, aphoristic, and innovative work has become nationally and internationally known. Her book, Ripple Effect: New & Selected Poems, was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Award and shortlisted for the Griffin Poetry Prize. Among her other titles are Sentences and Rain, Surface Tension, Decoy, Voice-Over, which won the San Francisco State University Poetry Award, and The Cloud of Knowable Things. She teaches at New York University and in the MFA Program at The New School.


“[E]nchanting…These poems suggest people should enjoy the fun of language while it lasts” —Publishers Weekly

“Elaine Equi is curious about where we’re headed. What do we have in common after all—a brand, a mini-series? It’s the intangibles that fascinate, whether morphing through robotics, noticing the new ‘featurelessness of things’ with citizens staring into their palms, or finding ourselves stalked by a hologram. It’s the mystery of our ever-weirder world where the machines dream us. Amusement was the beneficent state Frank O’Hara recommended and in a post-post-reality it’s what Equi has in quantum leaps, in her Zen-ish DNA. This is a book for now and for the future, a panacea and antidote to the fear of the inane unknown. Equi’s elegant control of line, image, percolating observation is always a taut surprise. I feel better already. Inside these subtle poems, complete little universes, there’s never a dull moment.” —Anne Waldman 

“Elaine Equi’s perfect pitch sends her wry voice in directions no other contemporary poet knows how to visit. She trims a narrative to its mad essence; she winnows lyric into a shape more giddy than aphorism, more delirious than koan. Reality, in Equi’s eyes, is pleasantly disrupted by words—her words, which are regular citizens of their sentences but also strangers to all normative modes of behavior. Read The Intangibles for the tangible joy these generous epistles give.” —Wayne Koestenbaum

“If Emily Dickinson were alive today, her name would be Elaine Equi. Each of these poem gems is a secret; to know them, simply read them.” —Bob Holman 

Praise for Elaine Equi

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

“These poems, brief as they sometimes are, simply-stated as they almost always are, open up a ground, a web, of the conscious and subconscious dailiness we all experience but rarely self-examine or seek to understand.” —New York Journal of Books

“There is a lot of fake poetry out there. Equi is real. She changes the way you look at things. You cannot fake the authenticity that informs even the most casual of her observations.” —David Lehman

“Her spare wit has always bent toward meaning, even as it pokes and pries and resists the clichés and the customs that conversation, prose fiction, and more conventional poetry bring.” —Stephanie Burt