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Citizen J by Daniela Olszewska

14.95

Citizen J hides in underground forests, worries that her toasters are miked, finds bombs in unusual places, tries her hand at piloting and cowboy human resources. She marries twelve husbands, marries twelve wives. In this series of interconnected poems, reminiscent at once of Heather Christle and John Berryman, Olszewska's everywoman hero moves across a landscape that might be America reimagined as a post-Soviet state: surreal, contradictory.

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Citizen J hides in underground forests, worries that her toasters are miked, finds bombs in unusual places, tries her hand at piloting and cowboy human resources. She marries twelve husbands, marries twelve wives. In this series of interconnected poems, reminiscent at once of Heather Christle and John Berryman, Olszewska's everywoman hero moves across a landscape that might be America reimagined as a post-Soviet state: surreal, contradictory.

Daniela Olszewska is the author of three other collections of poetry — cloudfang : : cakedirt (Horse Less Press, 2012), True Confessions of an Escapee From The Capra Facility for Wayward Girls (Spittoon Press, 2013), and, with Carol Guess, How To Feel Confident With Your Special Talents (Black Lawrence Press, 2014). She has taught composition, literature, and creative writing at state schools, community colleges, and maximum security correctional facilities. She now lives and writes under the name Daniela Czarny.

Excerpts:
826 Chicago

Reviews:
Arsenic Lobster (Carlo Matos)
Banango Lit (Cassandra Gillig)
Coldfront (Kathleen Rooney)
The Collagist (William Emery)
Gapers Block (John Wawrzaszek)
Ghost Ocean Magazine (C.J. Opperthauser)
Mid-American Review Vol. 34.1 (Jessica Dawn Zinz)
Public Books - Best Poetry 2013-2014 List (Joseph P. Wood)
The Small Press Book Review (Wyatt Sparks)

Praise:

"Olszewska's poems are brass-knuckled splendors stranging up the many terrains of Citizen J. Her lines leap with a propulsive cadence, unfurling their rapid upon us—dynamic, fractured, scrutinizing, and humorous while anchored in acerbic grit. The beautifully bizarre is to be discovered in her dizzying slippage of phrasings and images: 'it was already half past mutiny. the sky shook fully.' Marveling in sonic conjury and associative resistances, her poems roil and rave, shuttling us between 'sphinx' and 'Ferris wheel,' ultimately entrancing us."

—Simone Muench, author of Orange Crush



"This book is a fistful of screws short of a foundationally stable ferris wheel. But, by the time you figure that out, your family is waving at you from the apex."

—Nick Demske, author of Nick Demske



"'Stylishly gun powdered' and slickly political, Olszewska's addictive poems are fast, fidgety, and charmingly noirish. Hyper wordplay makes for dangerous gunplay; 'this isn't a game/ for blanks.' Beware Citizen J."

—Robyn Schiff, author of Revolver and Worth



"In a culture tightening its status-quo grip, Daniela Olszewska's Citizen J preps her lives for love apocalyptic. J echoes Alice Notely's Marie (A Culture of One) as 'she compromises/the integrity/of structures.' J is Kafka's K making headway when she 'bends/a tire iron into a kind —/— of utensil.' J takes Giorgio de Chirico's Hebdomeros into revolutionary romantic realms, 'j scrammed her up with grenades.' All brazenly executed with the alchemical zest of Leonora Carrington's Marian Leatherby (The Hearing Trumpet), 'j refuses to keep things/classy; she swings that hellish/hand basket of hers to/+ fro like a dank demonette.' This is adventure 'full of epicene or hemlockery' going for broke, winning among the minefields along the way."

—Amy King, author of I Want to Make You Safe and co-editor of the PEN Poetry Series

"I am so into the hijinks of Citizen J: the hijinks of syntax, of wordplay, of the many vestments and employments of the author and heroine. Daniela Olszewska is a poet who muses on the strange and quirky, who amuses without forsaking the seriousness of her craft. I reveled in the linguistical surprises of Citizen J; I reveled in its complexities: should I laugh here?; is this an awkward pause?; is this a sad and unfortunate moment? Olszewska is a unique and exciting poet: you will never forget her."

—Jenny Boully, author of not merely because of the unknown that was stalking toward them and The Book of Beginnings and Endings

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