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AT MOST by Chiyuma Elliott

About this edition:
Poetry, 75 pages. 6.125" x 8.25" softcover, Smyth-sewn binding.
ISBN 978-0-87775-069-7. Released 15 November 2020.

About this edition:
Poetry, 75 pages. 6.25" x 8.50" hardcover, Smyth-sewn binding.
ISBN 978-0-87775-071-0. With dust jacket. Released 15 November 2020.

“Chiyuma Elliott’s At Most is a book of lyric ambiguities. They are built into the very materials of which lyric poems are made, their words, their phrasings, the songs and what they sing from and what they sing toward and for. It is also a book of lyric quandaries, the inevitable outcome of an unfolding and ongoing yearning to know and understand that can’t be satisfied and thus continues to unfold and go on. At Most: the poet doesn’t expect everything. And all the singing in the world can’t destroy the barriers that human “society” puts in the way, among them destructive bigotries. Chi Elliott confronts them—not in every poem but in many. At Most: the book’s title states resignation. That resignation offers some slight promise of tranquility, wrought from an acceptance of impossibility. But the book’s title is also a statement of defiant refusal to aim anywhere but at most. This is a volume of marvelously crafted and richly intertextual poems; it is a book of meaning at its most.” —LYN HEJINIAN, author of Tribunal

“‘Form is the heart of emptiness,’ observes Chiyuma Elliott in her moving and luminous third collection, At Most. But whose emptiness gives form to this heartfelt line? ‘I’ is ever another in Elliott’s lyric echo chamber of remixes, ekphrases, homages, and triolets. From a choral voice, the poet’s own speech emerges in all its affective complexity and political intelligence: ‘I make hegemony sound like a sweet thing growing / near the edge of a creek.’ Complicity, desire, history, and belief are all, each in turn, refracted through this work’s formal prism to show us ‘the word back to bone, the path into song.’ By the end of the journey, readers of At Most will look back with wonder at ‘how quiet / and unfathomable / it all was.’” —SRIKANTH REDDY, author of Underworld Lit

CHIYUMA ELLIOTT is an Assistant Professor of African American Studies at the University of California, Berkeley. A former Stegner Fellow, Chiyuma’s poems have appeared in the African American Review, Callaloo, the Notre Dame Review, the PN Review, and other journals. She has received fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, Cave Canem, the James Irvine Foundation, and the Vermont Studio Center. Her first book, California Winter League, won the 2014 Unicorn Press Editor’s Choice award.