Orchidelirium

Winner of the 2003 Anhinga Prize

“You’ll find a stunning cleanliness of movement and image in these delicious, evocative, sexy poems. Hooray for a writer who can weave presence and absence, longing and loss of longing, into a tapestry of language as rich, honest, and compelling as this.”

–Naomi Shihab Nye (2003 Anhinga Prize judge)

Passionate, stylish, and subtle, the poetry in Deborah Landau’s remarkable debut collection peels back the layers of how we live now – and also how we die. With depth, assurance, and astonishing savoir faire Landau makes Orchidelirium a genuine orchid of a book, a vivid and riveting new bloom in American letters.

–Molly Peacock

“Uncross your legs,” one of Deborah Landau’s poems instructs us, “and leave the house…” The poems in Orchidelirium walk out, indeed, into the world of the body, as Landau registers the intensities of the flesh: pleasure, desire, limitation, and, ultimately, disappearance. This poet’s faith that bodies are “better than the alphabet” creates a poetry of vibrant physicality, open to joy and to failure — and, in a gripping final sequence, to the griefs and anxieties visited upon the body, in New York City, in the terrible beginning of this century.

–Mark Doty

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