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SELF-PORTRAIT IN DYSTOPIAN LANDSCAPE by Stephen Lackaye



About this edition:
Poetry, 70 pages. 5.875" x 7.750" softcover, Smyth-sewn binding.
ISBN 978-0-87775-806-8. Published 15 November 2016.

About this edition:
Poetry, 70 pages. 6" x 8" hardcover, Smyth-sewn binding.
ISBN 978-0-87775-807-5. With dust jacket. Published 15 November 2016.

About this edition:
Poetry, 70 pages. 6" x 8" hardcover, Smyth-sewn binding.
ISBN 978-0-87775-807-5. Signed and lettered, with dust jacket. Published 15 November 2016.

Winner of the Unicorn Press First Book Award

In Self-Portrait in Dystopian Landscape, Stephen Lackaye explores post-industrial disquiet in the Rust Belt. The figures in his poems try to reckon a subtle menace that lingers just beyond sure sight. A man who knows he is being watched contemplates the life of his voyeur. A laborer returning home hears a trap clap shut on someone in the woods and wonders if he can save the victim—if there is indeed someone to save. A youth recollects his early education in hand-to-hand combat, unsure of what violence he was ever capable of. Lackaye anneals these stories in a bright lyrical fire. These poems prompt us to distinguish the darkness within from the darkness without, to recover from the ruinous landscape the outlines of one’s own self.

“In his masterful and powerful debut collection of poems, Self-Portrait in Dystopian Landscape, Stephen Lackaye’s sweeping and muscular meditations enfold the piercing reflections of their speaker with luminous broad-stroked sketches of his passage through the urban (and a few natural) landscapes of this precarious time. This is an incisive, deeply wise, and illuminating collection of poems—a superb new voice has joined the ever-shifting landscape of contemporary American poetry.” —David St. John, author of The Auroras

“Bereft and lost as Odysseus going home, the singer of these poems wanders a place where a butterfly is a knife, a brother a ghost, and ‘all that’s possible betrays us.’ The hero of Stephen Lackaye’s Self-Portrait in Dystopian Landscape is a cunning warrior left to his wits, and poem after poem deepens the story of his survival. What rings out in the end astounds me—something tender and lovely and new. What an amazing poet, what a gorgeous book.” —Steve Scafidi, author of The Cabinetmaker’s Window

“Very few young poets are brave enough to embrace silence in order to listen intently to the murmurings of the mind. Stephen Lackaye is one of them, and his extraordinary debut, Self-Portrait in a Dystopian Landscape, embodies that bravery and wisdom. This book is a life-affirming instrument of truth. By means of sly wit, arresting imagery, and a mature lyric craft, it persuades us to transcend the intimate and public wreckages of our present moment.” David Roderick, author of The Americans

Stephen Lackaye is from Poughkeepsie, New York, and holds degrees from the University of Southern California, the University of Edinburgh, and the Johns Hopkins University. His poems have appeared in numerous journals, including American Literary Review, Cave Wall, Crab Orchard Review, Los Angeles Review, The Normal School, The Pinch, RHINO, and Spoon River Poetry Review. The recipient of a New Writer’s Award from the Scottish Arts Council, Stephen’s work has been honored with multiple nominations for the Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets. He lives in Oregon with his wife and daughter, where he is a manager for Powell’s Books.