Winner of the 2011 Akron Poetry Prize
“Art is about something the way a cat is about the house,” says Allen Grossman. This is abundantly true of Emily Rosko’s poems in Prop Rockery, a condition she defines with a quote from King Lear: “a looped and windowed raggedness.” And while this condition is “pretend,” and these poems are indeed virtuoso performances, the despair, loneliness, lies, and miscommunication they examine are as real as anything in art. Parataxis and fragments meet rhyme and chewy-on-the-tongue Anglo Saxon diction at the axis of postmodern irony. Prop Rockery explodes in your mouth-no sugar, plenty of bite.
—Natasha Sajé, author of Bend and Red Under the Skin
Emily Rosko continues to deepen her lively and intelligent tour of the allusive and investigative imagination that she began in Raw Goods Inventory, to wonderful effect. Shakespeare is here, several times, as instigating muse, and where she takes this inspiration is a wild boat ride of language and image spanning much of the last 500 years. To this journey she brings a confidence that is up to the large task of holding these disparate threads together, leaving just enough space between them to dance. As she writes: “I was shaken as salt. I was / as industrial as a drill. Oh pity-poor // fractured me, brain-way-sided, boring / through and through, full of ballas and glue.” It’s a lovely book, worthy of attention.
—John Gallaher, author of The Little Book of Guesses and Map of the Folded World