BlazeVOX books

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Compulsive Words by Michael Ruby

Price: $16.00

Compulsive Words Michael Ruby BlazeVOX [books]

On January 29, 1999, my older brother was near death in a Boston hospital after emergency surgery for a blood clot in the abdomen.  As I sat near the phone in Brooklyn that morning, trying to type up an old manuscript, it suddenly occurred to me that I was experiencing an extreme emotion, dread, and that I should see which words this extreme emotion displaced in my mind.  While writing the poem “Dread,” I perceived certain words repeatedly appearing, forcing themselves on me, taking over the poem.  From then on, during composition, I noticed the appearance of these “compulsive words,” which I first collected in the poem “Compulsive Words” in 2000, and whose number has continued to grow ever since.

—Michael Ruby


Reading the poems in Compulsive Words is like taking a hard drug.

—Aaron Kiely


Michael Ruby’s new book is experienced as a kind of sotto voce diction, an unrelenting mumbling in the back of the mind, which takes two very different forms: as a graphic representation of voices (words presented in diagrammatic patterns), and as what might be “transcriptions” of those diagrams and patterns: “O paper placement machines/Blue ladder to family problems” or “Somnabulist prows to leaven/Healthy escarole…”   Or perhaps the diagrams are transcriptions of the other texts: the tense dialectic between these two poles is one of the things that makes this book well worth contemplating.

—John M. Bennett



Michael Handler Ruby is the author of four other books of poetry—At an Intersection (Alef Books, 2002), Window on the City (BlazeVOX [books], 2006), Fleeting Memories (Ugly Duckling Presse ebook, 2008) and The Edge of the Underworld (BlazeVOX, 2010)—and the editor of Washtenaw County Jail and Other Writings by David Herfort (Xlibris, 2005). A graduate of Harvard College and Brown University’s writing program, he lives in Brooklyn and works as an editor at The Wall Street Journal.

Book Information:

· Paperback: 104 pages
· Binding: Perfect-Bound
· Publisher: BlazeVOX [books]
· ISBN: 9781935402824

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