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The Glass Book by Valerie Fox

The Glass Book
by Valerie Fox

$14  paperback
2010, 81 pages, 7.8 x 6.1

ISBN: 978-0979757389

Print copy available through Amazon.com
or directly from Texture Press.

Download the free “lite” version
as PDF or read it via Scribd.

Praise for The Glass Book

“Call these poems anti-narratives or lyrics of serendipitous moments, the poems, many of which are prose poems, tune into our clickable, branching, speeding, channel-changing lives. In this collection, her fourth, Fox pokes at memories and lets her poems vault from images of city streets and parks to old abodes, travels, and frequent references to cameras. The effect is fast-paced. The surprising juxtapositions often conjure the surreal. And while the poems love discontinuity, they are strung together by a sense of whimsy that is sometimes pleasurable, sometimes disturbing. Always through the chaos and trickiness, I feel the comfort of a moral sense.
                                             —Lynn Levin, Rattle (20 January 2011)

The Glass Book, Valerie Fox’s latest collection of brilliant poetry, scintillates a surrealism juxtaposed with a perfectly clear and grounded sensibility. An accident has to be somebody’s fault. Maybe, Dietrich straddles silent pictures and talkies hypnotically, but Fox is an acrobat, a high wire act, who is able to straddle and hold onto flashes of images and words, hypnotically, seemingly effortlessly; she risks but doesn’t fall, she never fails her readers. She startles and delights with a highly developed sense of humor, of deep-rooted truth. Fox’s work is as ‘normal,’ and as accessible and substantial as Bertha Palermo’s noodles and as unexpected as a fish disaster in your toaster oven.

“This work is no ephemeral thing.”
                                             —Lydia Cortés

“Fox ends The Glass Book poem, the longest one here, with the line, ‘what’s that alive in her hand?’ and I had to ask that question again and again through this book: what is this in my hand? Fox speaks about and to the book as if it were something more than just text, and the book, in turn, talks to us, the readers, as if it is something alive, fluid, shifting and beating. In each piece, a strong awareness of writing and literacy both gives way to and coincides with borrowed language—especially the language of education, textbooks, artifacts of learning—and the unconscious logic of dreams. Fox’s work is nonetheless quite grounded and concrete—the images are specific and funny and shocking and vivid; a world created from buses and street signs and nuns and poor music teachers and movies and train tracks and discos: nearly all the signs of urban, contemporary life. Above it all is a steady hand, in complete control of the language, playing with it, making it not only new, but surprisingly funny, like you’re reading something familiar you’ve never heard before, surely someone had figured out how to put these words together in this way before; it’s so right, it’s so natural. Somehow every letter seems inevitable. One has the sense of something being sewn, typed, and bound as we watch, as the author looks over the whole thing and makes little, invasive, entirely apt comments. One also has the sense that The Glass Book is an organic object, a book-baby, a ‘how can a child disappear, just like that?’, a thing that is entirely natural, so much so that it doesn’t even seem man-made—discovered, yes, perhaps a woman discovered it once, hidden in the wall of a house, or in the back of the box under the kitchen sink, but it’s too real, too coherent and weird to have been made by just a writer: hundreds of years of evolution must be responsible for this one, or some sort of higher being.
                                             —Christine Hamm


Innovative prose/poetics for sensitive, forward-looking readers who accept, question, and interrogate the outer reaches of emotion and mind.

The architectonics of Fox’s poems/prose create stirrings at the depth of one’s consciousness. They evoke art, allusory connections, and emotion while feeling strangely familiar—as though they were the reader’s own lived experience, albeit magical.

Read the responses of students to The Glass Book in ENC 1101 at Florida State College Jacksonville: Ashley Jay & Dena Baab.

Valerie Fox’s previous books of poems include The Rorschach Factory (Straw Gate Books, 2006) and Bundles of Letters Including A, V and Epsilon (a compilation with Arlene Ang, Texture Press, 2008). She is an editor for Press 1, a journal of fiction, poetry, opinion, and photography. She teaches at Drexel University, in Philadelphia, and lives with her family in New Jersey. [website]

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