A Handmade Museum

Poetry by Brenda Coultas

April 1, 2003 • 7 x 10 • 110 pages • 978-1-56689-143-1

From the Bowery to rural Southern Indiana, Coultas’s poems are a millennial roadmap of American life.

Brenda Coultas’s first full-length collection of prose poems takes us on a well-documented tour from the Bowery, pre-1900 and post-9/11, to southern Indiana, pre-automobile and post-genetic engineering. Her poems are sculptures, pieced together from bits of memory and a montage of American detritus.

This cinematic and wildly original collection asks the big questions as it documents our private selves, playing out our lives in public. “The Bowery Project” is the longest poem in this collection and captures New York’s past and present in the visceral and visual way that is usually associated with photographs and documentaries. Later poems are set in rural, southern Indiana and the contrast between city and country dramatically illuminates the American culture and landscape—these poems are a millennial roadmap of American life.

About the Author

An Indiana native who has worked as a carny, a park ranger, a waitress in a disco ballroom, and the second woman welder in Firestone Steele’s history, Brenda Coultas now lives in New York. Coultas was a New York Foundation for the Arts Fellow in 2005. Her poetry has been published in Brooklyn Rail, Encyclopedia, Conjunctions, and many other journals. She is the author of A Handmade Museum, winner of the Poetry Society of America’s Norma Farber First Book Award, and The Marvelous Bones of Time.


“When the wind blows keep Brenda Coultas’s book by your side.” —Bernadette Mayer