Winner of the 2017 Diode Book Prize
the empty season can be found through Diode Editions, Amazon, or at your local bookstore (one of my favorites is Open Books!)
Catherine Bresner’s first collection the empty season is a formally audacious, dexterous, & heart/filled book of bravery & strange. Head-butting the strictures that surround a traditional poem she collapses the collage, the erasure, the illustration, musical notation, the hyperlink, & the high lyric. One piece opens “Write, they say, like a band-aid / when writing feels like the wound.” & these poems perform both functions, the wound & the suture. This is a beautiful book.
Beautiful and imagistic, the empty season feels as if it is being written in real time, with its contemporary ear and relevant sorrows. Indeed, this is a book of the times. The strong voice in these poems and poetry comics is innovative, fresh, sincere, and maybe most importantly, has an intelligent curiosity. “Today the chore of being alive” is what I feel when I look at these poems: gorgeous collage, illustration, language—that is the music that keeps me going as a reader. It is delicious to read and see this book in the world.
Catherine Bresner brings a freshly savvy vision to the conditions of modern life—to our broken intimacies with others, to our alienation from our own best selves, and to our impaired commitments to civic wholeness. Dark in its whimsy and subversive in its truth-telling, the empty season is full of a kind of Baudelairean spleen, bitter and exuberant at the same time. As one of Bresner’s speakers declares: “How knowledge can be a euphemism / for wreckage, as in I will wreck you.” That’s a fair—and most welcome—warning from a vivid new ironist in our poetry.