Space Struck, Paige Lewis
The Millions, "Must-Read Poetry: October 2019"
Consider this glowing debut from Paige Lewis a menagerie of near-extinction. Space Struck explores the wonders and cruelties occurring within the realms of nature, science, and religion, with the acuity of a sage, the deftness of a hunter, and a hilarious sensibility for the absurd. The universe is seen as an endless arrow “. . . and it asks only one question: How dare you?”
The poems are physically and psychologically tied to the animal world, replete with ivory-billed woodpeckers, pelicans, and constellations-as-organisms. They are also devastatingly human, anchored in emotion and self-awareness, like art framed in a glass that also holds one’s reflection. Silky and gruesome, the poems of Space Struck pulse like starlight.
Paige Lewis is the recipient of the 2016 Editor’s Award in Poetry from The Florida Review as well as a Gregory Djanikian Scholarship from The Adroit Journal. Their poems have appeared in Poetry, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, The Georgia Review, Best New Poets 2017, and elsewhere. They currently live and teach in Lafayette, Indiana.
PRAISE FOR SPACE STRUCK:
"The playfulness and creative flourishes showcase the poet having the time of their life in crafting this debut."
"[W]ise and witty."
"Online, month by month, I watched it happen: a new genre of poem was emerging, but I had no clue who was responsible. These brainy poems didn't wait to spout off trivia, historical and scientific—'Pavlov Was the Son of a Priest' (a characteristically quotable title) recalls that 'the moon smells like spent gunpowder,' then divulges some smoldering self-knowledge: 'I'm sorry/I couldn't hide my joy when you said lonely.' . . . [T]hese poems were fluent in funniness, retweetably jokey: 'I'm//the vice president of panic, and the president is/missing.' But once the play subsided, you found yourself moved—unaccountably, almost, until you discovered, reading back up the poem, that even the zaniest elements had several parts to play. What looked like a genre, I soon realized, was all the handiwork of one poet. Their name is Paige Lewis. . . . Don't doubt them."
—Christopher Spaide, Poetry
"One of the best debuts of the year."
—"Must-Read Poetry: October 2019" by Nick Ripatrazone, The Millions
"Tremulous with star-pulsed stanzas as patiently alchemical as they are spontaneously acrobatic. . . [Lewis is] one of the most delightful, bewitching, and thoughtful voices I have ever encountered."
—Benjamin Quinn, Harvard Bookstore
“If you are holding this book, know that you are holding a work of wild and tender imagination. You are holding distance and saints and orchards and mouths. You are holding the full-length debut of Paige Lewis, a gifted poet whose words bring the light of elsewhere to this planet. I have been holding my breath for this book; now it, with loving strangeness, is holding mine.”
—Heather Christle, author of Heliopause
“I don’t have faith in much these days, but I do have immense belief in Paige Lewis, in the spaces they create (and deliciously destroy) inside each marvelous poem, ‘where we all fit.’ Lyn Hejinian writes, ‘The mouth is just a body filled with imagination…’ and this collection is a master class on the prosody of repletion. Lewis revels in cerebral delight despite the rigid contours of anxiety, creeping at each poem’s periphery. By the end of the book we are looking up, not at the stars, but at Lewis—shining with a planetary pull. Space Struck is a wondrous arrival.”
—Tiana Clark, author of I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood
“In this mighty and marvelous debut (emphasis on the marvel), Paige Lewis gifts us with lush and provocative bounty on every page all while displaying their considerable gifts of grace. The poems in Space Struck read like a kind of alchemy I've simply not seen before—I'm so charmed by declarations like, ’I spent years living with ghosts/ strung between my teeth...they made me the delicate/gulper i am today.’ After reading this lyric record of save and savor for this glorious planet, I am quite disarmed. I am quite undone.”
—Aimee Nezhukumatathil, author of Oceanic