Green Is for World

Poetry by Juliana Leslie

October 30, 2012 • 5.5 x 8.25 • 74 pages • 978-1-56689-316-9

A National Poetry Series selection chosen by Ange Mlinko, these are virtuosic lyrics for the visionaries among us.

Peering through a macro lens at the shapes and voices of our universe, this collection captures the invisible and inexpressible elements of our world’s ruins and history while offering a “craving for details from the future.”

About the Author

Juliana Leslie was born in Cooperstown, NY and grew up in New York and California. She holds degrees from UC Santa Cruz, Mills College and UMass Amherst and is currently finishing a Ph.D. at UC Santa Cruz. She is the author of three chapbooks and of the full-length collection, More Radiant Signal, published in 2010 by Letter Machine Editions. She is also currently a co-organizer of the UC Santa Cruz Poetry and Politics Research Group and a founding editor of the Poetry and Politics Imprint.


Green is for World is a book that expands on the childlike register of its title: it is open, vulnerable, curious. Like many poets in our time, Juliana Leslie uses collaged fragments to build small poems and stanzas that test the potential for language to communicate before it is understood (as T.S. Eliot put it). What makes Leslie different from many poets in our time is her way of imbuing the poem with wonder and awe—this is not the disenchanted modern poet! Shakespeare, Odysseus, George Herbert, Longinus: these are her companions, as refreshing and freshening in the course of a mundane day as herbs in a garden. ‘Green,’ then, refers as much to the balms that poets provide as to the balsalm of the natural world.” Ange Mlinko, National Poetry Series judge

“‘If you are not being undone / you are not living outside,’ writes Juliana Leslie in her second astonishing book of poems. Green Is for World is a primer for how a poet might map the imagination. And Leslie’s strange, lyrical syntax falls in love with the work of tracking what’s just below the surface of thought: trafficking in the near-spoken, the peculiar particulars, and in the unseen textures of lived experience—to develop a new archive for the elusive pathways of felt thinking. Curious and attentive, these poems somehow seem to disentangle the details while simultaneously inventing a new condensary, as Leslie writes, ‘Whatever the eye swallows / is likely to rise up & come back.’” —Joshua Marie Wilkinson

“Juliana Leslie’s exciting new book is constantly opening up and breaking into light, revelation, and sound. Green is for World is a surprising book, wonderously achieved and lovingly composed.” Peter Gizzi

“Within the flickering bounds of an almost-still life, or a lumpy window, or perhaps more like a conversation with heat, Juliana Leslie’s Green is for World is rife with the finely-noised intimacy I might encounter in a room occupied by paintings that have been freed from the confines of light. The ship blinks, and I am moved, unpleated, to go long, wider into the unsettled edges of nature, busting up with the secret intentions of lemons, stones, and a humble circumference.” Sawako Nakayasu

“Leslie’s fractured verses imbue everyday objects with weird resonances in such a lucid way that ‘lovebirds / folding sweaters / in the eleventh century’ makes perfect sense. This ability to layer poetic texture in line after unpunctuated line of absurd-yet-somehow-familair imagery to evoke a feeling of refined incompleteness echoes the poems of Rae Armantrout and Kay Ryan.” Booklist

“These mercurial ‘love letters’ to the universe exude style. . . . Leslie’s poems whisper and whistle along, moving things and rearranging the path. ‘Me a clear space / and you / sun’s silk.’” The Brooklyn Rail

“Leslie’s poems have a lovely, meditative edge slipped in, composing poems that meander with purpose, and a narrative ‘I’ that floats in and out of authority.” Rob Mclennan's blog