Dorothea Lasky has been hailed as “undoubtedly one of the nation’s most talented younger poets” (Huffington Post). From her first book, AWE, Lasky has been crafting her hallmark voice, a mixture of language that is “boldly colored, unabashed, and wildly human” (Timothy Donnelly), presenting her readers with poetry full of “blood-red realness” (Boston Globe) and haunting lines that “recall Frank O’Hara and Allen Ginsberg” (Chicago Tribune). With each new book, from the grand religiosity of AWE to the flat sadness and nihilism of Black Life to the witchery of Thunderbird, her poems have kept gaining an increasingly robust readership and have influenced an entire generation of new poets, fusing the transcendent vision of the New York School with a kind of performative confessionalism, bringing the force and power of the classical world into the everyday.
ROME, her fourth collection, marks the arrival of this seminal American poet to the classic Liveright imprint. This work finds her in the arena of eternal longing and heartsick desire, confronting her ghosts and demons, savaged by grief and lust. ROME is a book populated with love’s proxies, its wounded animals and desiccated bodies, in league with her chosen poetic company: Catullus and Anne Sexton, Nicki Minaj and Drake. Pulitzer Prize winner Tracy K. Smith writes, “Dorothea Lasky’s ROME is dark, fearlessly frank, unabashedly vulnerable, and full of real live heart.” In these poems of high lyricism, Lasky fuses the ancient world, with all its grandiosity and power, with the fierceness and heartbreak of our everyday world, where sometimes all a poet can do is to carry her line like a weapon in an awful blood sport––the blood jet––taking no prisoners as she slashes across a landscape of language, strange fascinations, real people, and the imagination.