Two Minds: Poems (Hardcover)

Two Minds: Poems By Callie Siskel Cover Image
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In a piercing and beautiful elegy for the poet’s father, this debut volume investigates the enduring pain and transformative potential of grief.

Does loss define us, or do we define loss? Tracing the duality of grief as it reverberates through a family, Callie Siskel wrestles with questions of identity and inheritance in precise, lucid poetry. Two Minds indulges and therefore exposes the vanity of turning private pain into art and the pursuit of self-revelation. Drawing on ekphrasis, ars poetica, and the prose poem, Siskel expands the elegiac genre as she oscillates between childhood and adulthood, art and mythology, as well as the natural and domestic world. At once cerebral and emotional, Two Minds is an essential meditation on the ways that loss cleaves and doubles our perceptive power.

About the Author

Callie Siskel is the author of Arctic Revival, winner of the Poetry Society of America Chapbook Fellowship. Her poems appear in the Atlantic, Kenyon Review, Yale Review, and Paris Review. A former Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University, she holds a PhD in creative writing and literature from the University of Southern California and lives in Los Angeles.

Praise For…

Direct but nuanced, tender but fierce, Callie Siskel’s Two Minds supposes that if we could see ourselves from just the right angle, we could understand our lives. Born of great loss, these precise lyrics do not aim at consolation alone; no, they struggle eloquently to put the pieces of a life together. Such is the true work of poetry. This is an enormous debut.

— Sally Keith, author of The Fact of the Matter

Callie Siskel’s beautiful and spare poems in Two Minds traverse the delicate yet relentless landscape of grief.… These poems often instigate with a scene from memory or an observation, then they are propelled by the declarative, oftentimes in plain diction and clean syntax.… Maybe in the end, grieving is about the self; as Siskel astutely writes: ‘Vanity and grief / are closer than we think. // Grief’s call-and-response / a mirror of our own making.’ Siskel’s poems are wise and thoughtful, quietly evocative.

— Victoria Chang, author of Obit

Two Minds is a stunning, singular debut. Deeply compelling, it is the wisest book I know about the ways grieving divides us from ourselves. These exquisitely written poems chart with delicacy and nuance the passage we face entering that hall of mirrors appearing before us after great loss. Yet Two Minds is also a poetic reflection on the wholeness we reconstruct upon reentering the world.… An instant classic.

— David St. John, author of The Last Troubadour

In Two Minds, the hungers of loss, love, and familial bonds intersect at the interstices of art and memory. With a palate knife, Callie Siskel scrapes at the raw face of elegy, revealing interior forms on a canvas where the poet’s father lives beyond death. Reminiscent of Elizabeth Bishop’s One Art, these intimate poems achieve an enduring, painterly resonance that is startling and lucid in language.

— Rachel Eliza Griffiths, author of Seeing the Body

Product Details
ISBN: 9781324073673
ISBN-10: 1324073675
Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company
Publication Date: April 16th, 2024
Pages: 112
Language: English