A darkly humorous new collection of poems by the Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author of Wideawake Field and Amity and Prosperity
If Men, Then, Eliza Griswold's second poetry collection, charts a radical spiritual journey through catastrophe. Griswold's language is forthright and intimate as she steers between the chaos of a tumultuous inner world and an external landscape littered with SUVs, CBD oil, and go bags, talismans of our time. Alternately searing and hopeful, funny and fraught, the poems explore the world's fracturing through the collapse of the ego, embodied in a character named "I" - a soul attempting to wrestle with itself in the face of an unfolding tragedy.
"Griswold narrates with a strong voice and moderate pacing. 'What can we offer the child at the border,' she begins with her poem Prayer. Then she continues with her other pieces about race, immigration, and spirituality." (BookRiot)
"Griswold has taken the Whitmanesque 'I' - 'I' as everyone - and made it unmistakably singular.... Though the sequence nods to the surreal and the psychological - Rimbaud's 'Je est un autre' - there are also echoes of John Berryman and Sylvia Plath, poets closer to home whose self-awareness was enacted on the page in the form of characters, masks, new selves...wry and intimate, sophisticated and all [Griswold's] own - imagining the adventure that is being." (Kevin Young, The New Yorker)
"This second poetry collection from Griswold is profoundly of its moment (just look at the CBD oil references), but its language feels somehow eternal." (Emma Specter, Vogue)
"[Griswold] writes poems so emotionally charged they seem on the verge of spilling over...palpable and provocative poems that can be appreciated by broad audience." (Karla Huston, Library Journal)