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Space Struck

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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 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, well 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.


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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 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, well 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.

30 review for Space Struck

  1. 5 out of 5

    Dominic

    I was emotionally struck over and over (most often with satisfied smiles) by Paige Lewis’ debut collection of poetry. The voices of these poems are tender and cheeky and gloriously absurd, and I still keep finding places to hide in these poems. This is my way of saying there is a lot of room to make these poems what you want them to be, and for as many times as you want to come back to them. The speakers, sometimes over the course of a single poem, will remind me of myself at one turn, my wife at I was emotionally struck over and over (most often with satisfied smiles) by Paige Lewis’ debut collection of poetry. The voices of these poems are tender and cheeky and gloriously absurd, and I still keep finding places to hide in these poems. This is my way of saying there is a lot of room to make these poems what you want them to be, and for as many times as you want to come back to them. The speakers, sometimes over the course of a single poem, will remind me of myself at one turn, my wife at another, and then hit a deeper version of myself I’m still understanding. It was fun tracing the motifs throughout the book (stars, saints, self-understanding, "my beloved”), and I love how they made me feel large and safe in my difference. Learning to live as a queer man in my early 40s has its challenges—some days I feel both closer to myself but farther from the world. But it’s more often poetry, like the generous, playful, amphibious speakers of Lewis’ poems that ground me in this larger human world, fill me with possibility, and make me happy to be weird/imaginative/wild/hopeful me and more connected to “my beloved." Favourite line: “Tell me, how do I steady my gaze / when everything I want is in motion?" Favorite poem: “When I Tell My Beloved I Miss the Sun, He Knows” (which is available at poets.org)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Basia

    If Space Struck is a house with so many rooms, every poem is a room lined with tender peculiarity. Plush and weird and curious. Earthly and superlunary. Space for the aching, space for the saints even when you least expect them, space to marvel, space to wonder. Space for all kinds of creatures, like and unlike you and me. Every poem is a room with a worthwhile view here. I'm so glad to have been invited inside.

  3. 4 out of 5

    David Jordan

    I follow the author on Twitter and pre-ordered the book based on their announcement and a stellar review in Poetry magazine. After waiting for several weeks for it to be released and delivered, I was slightly concerned that I might be justifiably disappointed when the collection fell short of my much too lofty expectations. I shouldn’t have worried. This book is even better than I hoped it would be. Paige Lewis is a phenomenal talent and these poems are among the best I’ve read in a long time. I I follow the author on Twitter and pre-ordered the book based on their announcement and a stellar review in Poetry magazine. After waiting for several weeks for it to be released and delivered, I was slightly concerned that I might be justifiably disappointed when the collection fell short of my much too lofty expectations. I shouldn’t have worried. This book is even better than I hoped it would be. Paige Lewis is a phenomenal talent and these poems are among the best I’ve read in a long time. I wanted there to be twice as many as are included in this volume, as it was over long before I was ready to finish. I guess I’ll just have to start all over from the beginning. I’ve a suspicion it will be even more amazing the second time through.

  4. 5 out of 5

    jamjarfeels

    Likes: "Because the Color Is Half the Taste", "In the Hands of Borrowers, Objects Are Twice as Likely to Break", "Golden Record", "Diorama of Ghosts", "You Can Take Off Your Sweater, I've Made Today Warm". There's a self-conscious streak that runs through most of the collection but it's mostly absent in these. I'd remembered liking "You Can Take Off..." when it was first published, but I'd forgotten the title and author. It was a nice surprise to see it again.

  5. 5 out of 5

    Joanne Rixon

    One thing I love about Lewis' work is the way they play around with form. There's not a lot of traditional form work in this book--no sonnets or sestinas, at least not that I spotted--but there's a satisfyingly tidy sense of space in each poem. Like in "The Moment I Saw A Pelican Devour," Lewis uses titles to good effect, and the whimsical surrealism of the content of their poems is a sharp contrast to the precise, deliberate form. They are fond of couplets tethered in length that contain One thing I love about Lewis' work is the way they play around with form. There's not a lot of traditional form work in this book--no sonnets or sestinas, at least not that I spotted--but there's a satisfyingly tidy sense of space in each poem. Like in "The Moment I Saw A Pelican Devour," Lewis uses titles to good effect, and the whimsical surrealism of the content of their poems is a sharp contrast to the precise, deliberate form. They are fond of couplets tethered in length that contain sentences tumbling along so that it would be easier to draw the silhouette of the poem than to select just a few lines to quote. And their more visual work feels even more sophisticated.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Barton Smock

    If, instead of a far creature, I imagine here an empty cage, then perhaps I’ve been blessed by revelation as originally intended, and tended to, in and by the baptismal poems of Paige Lewis as visible from their Space Struck, a work of thisness and anti-thatness. In a verse so propulsive that the forms therein dance in the before and after of being re-shadowed, Lewis makes of the beyond a proximity where privacy enters the pocket as a rescued oyster and emerges secretly as a smallness freed from If, instead of a far creature, I imagine here an empty cage, then perhaps I’ve been blessed by revelation as originally intended, and tended to, in and by the baptismal poems of Paige Lewis as visible from their Space Struck, a work of thisness and anti-thatness. In a verse so propulsive that the forms therein dance in the before and after of being re-shadowed, Lewis makes of the beyond a proximity where privacy enters the pocket as a rescued oyster and emerges secretly as a smallness freed from size. In places such as these, urgency need not be restless, awe need not outgrow its display, and we need not slow ourselves to be overtaken by beauty.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Joe Paris

    My post on Twitter (@ParisBMS) claims, "I'm still recovering [from reading this]. Some lines and passages and poems floored me. They astonished. What a gift it is." I think anyone who is an avid poetry reader (i.e. "junkie") like me will marvel at the precision of craft and creativity in this collection. I loved it. So, I should rate it a 5/5. However, I don't think these poems are quite as accessible or mainstream as some poetry collections (e.g. Sarah Kay, Rudy Francisco, Billy Collins, My post on Twitter (@ParisBMS) claims, "I'm still recovering [from reading this]. Some lines and passages and poems floored me. They astonished. What a gift it is." I think anyone who is an avid poetry reader (i.e. "junkie") like me will marvel at the precision of craft and creativity in this collection. I loved it. So, I should rate it a 5/5. However, I don't think these poems are quite as accessible or mainstream as some poetry collections (e.g. Sarah Kay, Rudy Francisco, Billy Collins, Catherine Pierce, etc.). So, for people who are more casual readers or want topics or themes a little more easy-to-digest, this might be a slightly more challenging place to start. Still, it's worth it. Lewis has a way with words that had me rereading lines out loud over and over again. I was more than impressed and enthralled.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Lyd Havens

    what a magical, delightful collection. i feel so light & thankful after finishing it.

  9. 4 out of 5

    Kaia

    On the Train, a Man Snatches My Book, Reads

  10. 4 out of 5

    Natalie

    I read this for class and absolutely loved it! The poems all worked together really nicely, and I just thoroughly enjoyed them. Lewis uses some clever little tricks to keep you engaged.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Melissa Fondakowski

    I've recently wondered how a person who grew up in the family I did ended up how I did. I often think it was my queerness that led me to seek poetry, and it was poetry that helped me understand the world, and myself in it. I came out in the 90s, and poetry then was very different that it is now. In the last ten years I have found myself wanting poetry more, but connecting with it less, which I understand as some combination of what kind of poetry is popularly available, the sensibility of most I've recently wondered how a person who grew up in the family I did ended up how I did. I often think it was my queerness that led me to seek poetry, and it was poetry that helped me understand the world, and myself in it. I came out in the 90s, and poetry then was very different that it is now. In the last ten years I have found myself wanting poetry more, but connecting with it less, which I understand as some combination of what kind of poetry is popularly available, the sensibility of most who are now writing it, and that I am different: my life is noisier, busier; there's more action and less contemplation than at other times in my life. I want to reengage my contemplative sensibility, particularly now when the world is so insane--not in spite of it, or to check out, but to grow in understanding so that I can actively contribute less to the insanity (do I really need to tweet that? do I really need to buy that? do I really need to watch that? do I really need to say that? do I really need to travel there?). I believe poetry can provide that. I know it can. Yet I've turned to poetry volumes again and again for a decade or more, unable to really get there. Until Space Struck. All I want to do is be inside the poems, as if each of them is a cave with secret passages and drawings that demand you--not to do anything about them, or act upon them--but to think about them, where they came from, some future they'll be in, what would happen if you walked down one of them. My favorite thing about them is that, while they are smart, they are never clever. When they are self referential it is always in the form of a question, a request to think harder about something, not to say look at me look at me. The poems beg the mind to try to push past what it knows into what it does not know, and makes a simple request: don't try putting things in order while you're there: just be in the beautiful confusion.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

    "If this world / is a plucked violin string, am I part / of its sound or its stillness?" - Chapel of the Green Lord One of the most imaginative poetry collections I've ever read. The most surprising, yet fully perfect metaphors. Lewis balances joy & hope & love in a world often shadowed by darkness. Nearly every poem filled me with a deep sense of awe like when you stare up at the stars on a perfectly clear night.

  13. 4 out of 5

    Tim Heerdink

    "Each poem another journey into the pondering imagination of Paige Lewis, a wonderful crafter of images drawn from space into existence. They look up and find new worlds, new lives for us to experience. Somewhere in the black that surrounds this dimension lies an alternate reality. One filled with dreams that stare back at you if the timing and lighting is right." - Tim Heerdink, author of The Human Remains and Red Flag and Other Poems

  14. 4 out of 5

    Rebecca Valley

    Lots of great poems here, and Paige Lewis insists that poems can be silly, which I appreciate. I wish that Lewis played with form and syntax in more than just 1 or 2 poems here, and that some of the endings weren’t quite so tight - they felt, sometimes, like too much closure when I would have preferred an opening.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Amie Whittemore

    I read this book quickly; the voice in it is strong and engaging, and I'm down with the ideas it's investigating. I guess I felt like a lot of the poems felt very similar to each other in tone, structure, reach. Which is all to say that I'm curious about the next book, to see where and how this voice evolves.

  16. 4 out of 5

    Matt

    On the Train, A Man Snatches My Book No One Cares Until You're the Last of Something Saccadic Masking The Moment I Saw a Pelican Devour When I Tell My Beloved I Miss the Sun The Terre Haute Planetarium Rejected My Proposal On Distance God Stops By St. Francis Disrobes Golden Record Space Struck God's Secretary, Overworked Pavlov Was the Son of a Priest Magic Show

  17. 5 out of 5

    Sara

    I really enjoyed this entire collection, but The Terre Haute Planetarium Rejected My Proposal is the one that captivated me. I just keep going back to its imagery and devastating wit. Stopping what?

  18. 4 out of 5

    Raven

    A beautiful collection- not too complex or too simple but a perfect balance between reality and imagination, nature and modernity. A beautiful and relatable work of art that touches on relationships, love, nature, death , time, boundaries and feminism. Not a collection that can be narrowed down to one phrase or style but something fluid and impossible to put down.

  19. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

    Enjoyable collection. Poems I especially enjoyed: "The Moment I Saw a Pelican Devour," "God Stops By," "In the Hands of Borrowers, Objects Are Twice as Likely to Break," "Golden Record," "You Can Take Off Your Sweater, I've Made Today Warm," and "Royal I."

  20. 5 out of 5

    James

    Lewis' work invites you in (often literally) and winds you down unexpected paths to intimate spaces that feel so perfect even while you marvel at how we got from one point to another. Their work is powerful and funny, heartfelt and true. Loved this collection.

  21. 5 out of 5

    André Habet

    "I admit I often tell you About the cruelties of others to stifle The growling in my own troubled core." (From 'Pavlov was the son of a priest')

  22. 5 out of 5

    Lianne

    Delight after wonder after delight. God, I love these poems, this poet.

  23. 5 out of 5

    L. T.

    One of those poetry books that makes you rethink poetry.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jerome Blanco

    Not sure that I've enjoyed a poetry collection more (and "enjoy" is almost certainly too weak a word). 6 stars if I could. This book is wonderful.

  25. 4 out of 5

    Margaryta

    REVIEW FORTHCOMING

  26. 4 out of 5

    Macy Davis

    Reading Lewis's poetry made me think of the wondrous feeling that comes as a kid when you want to be an astronaut and then what it's like to learn just how truly terrifying space actually is.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Sofia Fey

    I screamed many times.

  28. 4 out of 5

    Emily Polson

    It's so good it hurts It's so good it hurts ✨

  29. 5 out of 5

    Abby

    so fucking good

  30. 5 out of 5

    Nick Moran

    Spectacular.

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