Page last updated: April 12, 2021

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Poems by Grant Quackenbush

Intricately sculpted poems of modern life from New York City to Southern California—propelled with a sense of urgency bordering on a vein of chaos that flashes with crystalline precision of language.

“It was as if a supersonic jet / or giant Greek trident had ripped / a hole in the stretch denim / of the space-time continuum / that sucked all the moisture / from the unripe fruit of the future / then spit out rain like buckets of / coins from a slot machine, only / no one got rich. Just wet.” (from “Group Interview”)

Force and tenderness color questions of life choices and free will, alongside constraints of the psyche and of obtaining the physical necessities of life. The socioeconomic structure of society portrayed with savage honesty: money (having it or not), appearances, food, alcohol, drugs, sanity, homelessness.

The throbbing amplification of poems that illustrate the highs and out-of-control nature of life is balanced by sober sadness, loss, perspective, and empathy for the wholeness of the broken, with “staples in our skulls—” (from “Postwar”).

“So loud, the song, and then it’s over—embers spiraling up toward the stars. / … / And then this blooming / wound lodged in my chest, this blue / rose I call my heart. I can feel it / dropping cold petals into my gut. / I can feel it raining inside me.” (from “Sitting on a Bench at Moonlight Beach”)

The final tour de force of double abecedarians presents acrobatic feats of construction in which nothing is lost of the reeling narrative voice nor of the tender humanistic tones.

Reading Off Topic is like the expanding moment of stillness in our perception of time as a rollercoaster free-falls: embedded in the carnival is a mature and lasting exploration of self, poetry, art, and relationship.

GRANT QUACKENBUSH is from San Diego. He received his MFA from Boston University and his BA from the University of California, Santa Cruz. This is his first book.


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Pinyon Titles



The Upper East Side.pdf



Group Interview.pdf


Sitting on a Bench at Moonlight Beach.pdf

III. Alphabet City: Double Abecedarians



Pre-Order Now
Copies available October 2021
Pre-Order Now
Copies available October 2021

Oil painting “Grant Quackenbush” by Bradford J. Salamon