Participant, winner of the 2015 Lost Roads Press Bessmilr Brigham Writers Award. Selected by John Keene and Eleni Sikelianos.
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The long eponymous poem in Participant creates an intimate interspecies geography. It takes Emily Dickinson’s poems as prism & through them conspires with immediate contingencies to document the mingling of human and non-human trajectories. The companion series of poems “Leaflets” reconstructs, in broken grammars and forms, a multiply-sited close listening/inhabiting of the echoing between actual & textual worlds. Together these sketch the emplacements and embodiments of a new intersubjective regionalism.


Linda Russo shows how to distill and clarify perception as a method of lyric practice in order to render “a world made sharp.” The long poem of observation “Participant,” edged with philosophy and critique, floats effortlessly across the page, yet anchors in the consciousness like a vital point on a map of a still not fully visible present and future. Participant’s speaker worries the division between natural and built environments around her, “into the undertone of the other world,” while demonstrating how poetry fuses the line between being the observer and the one who brings the invisible into view.

- John Keene, author of Counternarratives (New Directions, 2015)

In these beautifully woven poems, as living branches or twigs in a bower, we are proffered a sensitive record of what it means to be alive and thinking among other living things doing their own kinds of thinking. Syllables become the leaves plushing this place we inhabit, this nest in which is gathered a plurality, an ecosystem “spared from data.” There are these and other truths to be found in these pages, where “words for these leaves make the world seem seen.”

- Eleni Sikelianos, author of You Animal Machine (Coffee House Press, 2014) and The California Poem (Coffee House Press, 2004)


Portions of PARTICIPANT have appeared in Tears in the Fence, no. 63, and E-Ratio

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