A Sand Book (Hardcover)
Longlisted for the National Book Award
"Mind-blowing." —Kim Gordon
Deadpan, epic, and searingly charismatic, A Sand Book is at once relatable and out-of-this-world. In poems tracking climate change, bystanderism, state murder, sexual trauma, shopping, ghosting, love, and the transcendent shock of prophecy, A Sand Book chronicles new dimensions of consciousness for our strange and desperate times. What does the destruction of our soil have to do with the weather in the human soul? From sand in the gizzards of birds to the iridescence on the surface of spilt oil, from sand storms on Mars to our internet-addicted present, from the desertifying mountains of Haiti to Sandy Hook to Hurricane Sandy to Sandra Bland, A Sand Book is both a travelogue and a book of mourning. In her long-anticipated follow-up to Mercury, Ariana Reines has written her most ambitious, visceral, and satisfying work to date.
About the Author
Ariana Reines is author of Mercury (2011) The Cow (2006) and Coeur de Lion (2007). Her play Telephone was produced at the Cherry Lane Theater and won several Obie awards. Reines was 2009 Roberta C. Holloway Lecturer in Poetry at the University of California Berkeley; she has taught master classes at Pomona College, the University of California Davis, and the University of Pittsburgh. She lives in New York, NY.
Her writing is queer and raunchy, raw and occult, seemingly never pulling away from her deepest vulnerabilities. Yet Reines simultaneously maintains a feeling of epic poetry, of ancient intention. She moves between worlds in search of the divine and the self.
Reines' wildly rewarding poems are connected through clarity of voice, generous irreverence, and seemingly limitless purview... it truly contains multitudes.
— Booklist (Starred Review)
are the kinds of poems that reorient you in the world, make you understand how
little you know, but how much is inside you. Lines like 'the suffering of woman
is/ the story of the universe' will linger in the front of your skull,
imprinting themselves on your consciousness in a way that feels risky and real,
like you've unlocked the key to some hidden truth, some undiscovered light.
Maybe you don't automatically reach for poetry when you're plugging the Coors into your beach cooler, but Ariana Reines' A Sand Book is an epic, perfect beach read. At nearly 400 pages, this gorgeous and terrifying travelogue and book of mourning has enough poems to get you from blue June to haunted October.
— Karen Russell
— Kim Gordon
Ariana Reines is my favorite living poet, and A Sand Book is one of her greatest acts of alchemy: a poetic supernova transcending magazine feminism, faultless views, the branding of basically everything. To be fully human requires an act of sorcery nowadays, and Reines is that sorceress.
— Melissa Broder
Ariana Reines is a go-for-broke artist who honors her traditions by being like no one else. Some of us have made a fetish of our stupidity, pretending to forget history, and some of us have made a fetish of despair, congratulating ourselves on melancholia, but Ariana is too brilliant and too alive for either of those sad luxuries. Her poems and various performances and even her posts are fetishes in a much deeper sense: they are sites of (and screens for) irrational and transpersonal powers. I am convinced of the authenticity of the summonses she receives and the summonses she issues and when I read her I am reminded that all of this is a calling before it’s an identity or career. Her voice—which is always more than hers alone—is a dialectic between the very ancient and the bleeding edge. I just looked up “bleeding edge” on Wikipedia and here is what it says: “A technology may be considered bleeding edge where it contains a degree of risk.” There might be “a lack of consensus.” Or “a lack of testing.” There might be “industry resistance to change.” With Ariana’s art the risks are real and we should run them.
— Ben Lerner
Read her for the power of her vision, and for her willingness to look at tragedy, whether personal or planetary, head-on. As the planet grows hotter, as civilization becomes increasingly brutal, banal, and irreal, a voice as powerful as Reines’s is too valuable to neglect. A Sand Book is a necessary guide to a future rapidly becoming the present, a map of the desert we all have to navigate.
A Sand Book’s achievement, in its lyricism and its philosophy, cannot be understated. With this book of books, Reines transmits and distils the miasma of our reality—in all of its impossible completeness—in order to leave us with something that feels like truth.
Reines’s books are works of intellectual commitment and structural sophistication; at the same time, they allow the raw stuff of being, in all its messiness, to enter the page. . . . It is Western poetry returned to its ‘epic’ classical origins – meaty and full of drama, with more Big Dick Energy than any ‘Great American Novel’.
Reines opens us to new possible uses of language.