Elaine Bleakney

For Another Writing Back 

For Another Writing Back extends to strangers and creatures the same quizzical care we extend to those we love; it gives us a way of seeing that is very close to listening. Part reverie, part reflection, these lyric sequences examine childhood, 9/11, the nuclear disaster at Fukushima, giving birth, the dailiness of marriage, family gatherings, friends living with cancer, a lizard come into the house to die —  all with a distinctive, intimate quiet. Attentive to what separates us and to what unexpectedly draw us close, Bleakney’s vision expresses, in the most stunning terms, not only the depth of our inwardness, but how we might seek shelter in one another." —  Joanna Klink

Purchase Online at Sidebrow Books


"Bleakney's meditative and searching poems artfully assemble not a linear narrative, but an evocative consideration of a life."— Publishers Weekly

"Elaine Bleakney’s For Another Writing Back skillfully undermines the reader’s expectations of prose, using the visual appearance of the text to evoke our preconceived ideas about what prose should or ought to be like."— Kristina Marie Darling in Tupelo Quarterly

"I so love this new avant-memoir by Elaine Bleakney."— Stephanie Burt 

"I love Elaine's whole stunning book, which she began a few years after we were in graduate school together, but I have read the birth scenes over and over again. I love her intense, intimate descriptions of powerlessness, of going to the animal place of pain and pushing."— Belle Boggs in The Art of Waiting

"Formally, I find this book very exciting: a series of short prose passages/untitled poems that skate across time. At first I was a bit reluctant to follow the thread of digressions, but eventually I warmed to it and just loved it. The handling of time, the associative weaving of content, it all just mesmerized me. I guess the immediate antecedent that comes to mind would be Midwinter Day by Bernadette Mayer, but whereas that book covers the events of one day, this covers most of an entire life. This is such a deft and subtle book. Recommended."— Rodney, a reader via Goodreads


Poetry Society of America


The Volta

Kenyon Review podcast with Natalie Shapero

20 Paintings by Laura Owens

“In her brilliant 20 Paintings by Laura Owens, Elaine Bleakney invents a new form which marries abstraction and dailiness where poetry and art can converse. Distantly kin to Jack Spicer’s disjunct footnote, here Frank O’Hara and Frank Ocean are Orphic cousins in a completely new time and place where thrive ‘so many colors without linebreaks.’"— Lee Ann Brown

“Bleakney’s ekphrasis is by turn microscope, telescope, kaleidoscope, zoetrope.” —Jesse Ball

"Bleakney points at Owens and others — Inger Christensen, Frank Ocean, Pavement, Hart Crane — and calls them over, pulling them into her arms together. Maybe they'll like each other, maybe they'll even fall in love? 'And then something like a map opens—  a list of names.' She also calls out colors, and they collect on a palette as the reader moves through the piece. 'I make my orange in a place where my idea of orange is razed,' she writes. She might be saying: I mix my colors in a place where colors do not exist as ideas, where they have no names. 'Razed' is perfect because fire is orange. It burns itself down. 'The colors aren't the same today as the day before,' she writes in a poem early in the collection, and anyone who has been to the mountains knows this is true. 'VOTE, the house on Pearson worries in lovesick red,' she writes later, and red becomes my twisted gut on election night in 2008 or 2012, a bright red gumball stuck in my throat, the color of emergency."— Katelyn Eichwald

"First of all, this is, simply put, beautiful writing. 'The red. What it candles,; evokes, at least in my mind, a vivid visual response that slowly leaks into and warms the bones. (This chapbook contains a number of instances of surprising language—for example 'so that texture can bleed;' “'as the clouds scrape;' 'she broke into candy colors,'–that ground the speaker’s associations and questions in the tangible world of the senses.) Second, getting ‘caught up in color’ is an interesting statement here. Certainly it’s appropriate to refer to color when discussing a painting. But the speaker in 20 Paintings, arguably a work in the ekphrastic tradition, doesn’t set out to merely describe paintings, but more certainly records the moment of response. — Jenny Drai

"Bleakney is chatting, voting, collaborating. She pulls Stephen Malkmus, Frank Ocean, Hart Crane into the poems. She cites La prose du Transsibérien as an influence, one of the earliest blends of abstract art and poetry, published by Blaise Cendrars and Sonia Delaunay-Terk in 1913. 20 Paintings by Laura Owens demonstrates a way to collaborate with someone you never plan to meet in real life."—The Volta 

Published by Poor Claudia: Handbound, letterpress edition of 100. SOLD OUT. Contact Elaine for more information. 

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