[10/15/24] Oliver, Carolyn: Alcestis Machine

[10/15/24] Oliver, Carolyn: Alcestis Machine

Regular price $17.00 Sale

Acre Books, paperback

Publication Date: October 15, 2024

Publisher Marketing: Inspired by the Greek myth of Alcestis, this poetry collection brings to life myriad voices who venture beyond the known world and exist between realities. In Greek mythology, Alcestis descends to the mysterious kingdom of death in her beloved's place. In The Alcestis Machine, Carolyn Oliver's second poetry collection, loss and queer desire echo across the multiverse. "In another life, I'm a . . ." sea witch or swineherd, vampire or troubadour, florist or fossil or museum guard, Oliver writes. These parallel personas inhabit space stations and medieval villages, excavate the Devonian seabed, and plumb a subterranean Anthropocene.

In possible futures and imagined pasts, they might encounter "all wrong turns and broken signs" or carry "a suitcase full of stars." Oliver's poems are animated by lush, unsettling verse and forms both traditional and experimental. The Alcestis Machine demonstrates how very present absence can be and how desire knows no boundaries. In neighborhood subdivisions or the vast reaches of space, it's impossible to know "whose time is slipping / again." Anyone "could come loose / from gravity's shine."