An exploration of memory, mourning, and humanity’s precarious relationship to the Anthropocene,Christopher Kennedy’s The Strange God Who Makes Us documents our fragile relationship with time and the imperfect ways in which we document our lives. These prose poems written by one of the form’s masters serve both as attempts to preserve and honor the past and as a call to action to ensure an inhabitable planet for future generations.
Christopher Kennedy is the author of Clues from the Animal Kingdom (BOA Editions, 2018) Ennui Prophet (BOA 2011), Encouragement for a Man Falling to His Death (BOA 2007), which received the Isabella Gardner Poetry Award, Trouble with the Machine (Low Fidelity Press, 2003), and Nietzsche’s Horse (Mitki/Mitki Press, 2001). He is also one of the translators of Light and Heavy Things: Selected Poems of Zeeshan Sahil, (BOA 2013). In 2011, he was awarded a National Endowment for the Arts Fellowship for Poetry. Kennedy is a professor of English in the MFA Program in Creative Writing at Syracuse University. He lives in Syracuse NY.
“‘I was cold and felt the impermanence of being human,’ the narrator in one of Christopher Kennedy’s poems says while hiking an icy trail. Throughout The Strange God Who Makes Us, Kennedy invites the reader to feel this impermanence—which often manifests itself in a playful existential questioning. Rather than fearing this mutability, Kennedy begrudgingly accepts it. It’s just the way the world works, he seems to be saying. In the current prose-poem scene, where sameness reigns supreme, Kennedy offers a book full of intelligence, energy, and humor, all directed by an ‘I’ who is intensely wise and self-effacing at the same time. I haven’t read a book of prose poems in a long time that I would call a ‘classic,’ but The Strange God Who Makes Us certainly deserves that praise. It’s a book only a master of the genre could write.” — Peter Johnson, author of While the Undertaker Sleeps: Collected and New Prose Poems
“In this deft and wildly sophisticated new collection, The Strange God Who Makes Us, the poet notes, of the dead commenting about the living, ‘they are touched by/the ghosts of every hand that ever held them’ —an observation, it seems, one might apply to the author himself, or rather his exquisitely attuned memory. Whether addressing Watkins Glen or Shang Qin, rocket ships or ‘the beautiful woman with the towering beehive,’ always there is the shivering presence of the future that ‘kept peeking around the corner to see if I was ready,’ offering grace and perspective. What more can one ask?” — Daniel Lawless, Founding Editor, Plume