This, Sisyphus by Brandon Courtney


Metaphysical in scope, transcendent in language, THIS, SISYPHUS makes malleable received forms and rhyme to articulate what it means to face incalculable loss. Centered on the death and subsequent repatriation of a sailor who was the author’s lover and closest friend, this collection moves beyond elegiac gestalt, questioning instead a God who created an imperfect world in which death is possible and inevitable. Composed of four sections, THIS, SISYPHUS is a rejection of Leibniz’s “best possible world,” and, more importantly, it is the author’s transubstantiated epiphany that, ultimately, in tragedy and suffering, we have only each other.

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SKU: 9781936919703 Categories: , ,


“Whether wrestling God or trying to make sense and sound out of grief, Brandon Courtney’s THIS, SISYPHUS is a bright, urgent addition to the elegiac canon. My lord, folks, the language Courtney has found here interrupted me. Such a deep well of grief matched with such a high zenith of lyric, just as it should be. Written exquisitely and vulnerably, this is a book for anyone seeking to wander back towards the light after travelling through Death’s valley.”—Danez Smith

“Trenchant, Achillean mourning soaks this book’s extraordinary sonic terrain with its indelible weight. What more definitive shape of haunting is there, THIS, SISYPHUS implores, than finding the beloved imbuing that one element which overwhelms the recognizable world-ocean, contained and unappeasable in all forms conventional and nonce, carnal and inanimate. Courtney’s erotic, erosive soldier’s psalms enunciate the guilt of doing what one can with the awful gift of a human life in the aftermath of another’s destruction, ‘building a new language / from what you left inside.'”—Justin Phillip Reed

This, Sisyphus by Brandon Courtney