The Book of Props

The Book of Props

“Miller makes a vast impact using the smallest stroke.” —NEW YORKER
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Elegant, learned, sensual, The Book of Props offers mesmerizing images of the scrim of the world, capturing both representation and inspiration.

Mediating claims between the attention objects demand of us and the effects of perception on time, these poems diagram the shifting geometries of human relationships. A tightrope walker who travels on telephone wires; angels, scarecrows, friends, and lovers—the speakers in The Book of Props often desire to hold time still, even as they acknowledge that to do so would actually mean the death of love, of experience. These poems—including a series presented in an innovative film script format—constitute an imaginative yet authentic inquiry into the varied constructs in which we define love.

Inventive and engaging, The Book of Props is a poetic and philosophical endeavor to place oneself in the world.

Publish Date
5.5 × 8.5 × 0.25 in
5.8 oz

Wayne Miller

Wayne Miller is the author of five collections of poems, including Post- and We the Jury, forthcoming March 2021. He is also a cotranslator of two books from the Albanian poet Moikom Zeqo, and a coeditor of three anthologies, including Literary Publishing in the Twenty-First Century and New European Poets. Miller is a professor of English at the University of Colorado Denver, where he edits Copper Nickel.

Praise and Prizes

  • “The mystery of sleep, the way a lit candle makes one the center of the dark: Wayne Miller’s an investigative reporter of consciousness, examining subjectivity as if there were no maps. And he’s right, there aren’t; every I awakes to its own peculiar presence—here given compelling form in rewarding, elegant lyrics.”

    Mark Doty
  • “In [The Book of Props], Wayne Miller quietly disassembles everyday life, identifying the rhetoric, folly, expectation, and artifice that make up the world… . Like his characters, Miller makes a vast impact using the smallest stroke—he is careful and suspenseful, wary of flamboyance.”

    New Yorker
  • “A mesmerizing and elegant inquiry into the physics of being … Wayne Miller’s lyrics are steeped in longing, stoked by tender irony and luminous with heightened receptivity. Akin in spirit to the works of Wallace Stevens and Charles Simic, Miller’s poems are profoundly human in their philosophical puzzles.”

    Kansas City Star
  • “Irresistibly sensual. Lush, lavish, and achingly accurate, Wayne Miller’s words have an almost corporeal realness to them—a kiss that becomes an object pressed between lovers, a ‘room that will be the ghost of right now / for as long as we carry it.’ I was transfixed by this book.”

    Rachel Zucker
  • “Wayne Miller’s poetry is entranced, luminous, supernaturally poised. He drifts through a world that is twilit, looming, strangely stilled, and somehow in need of his care, as if he had stayed up till some record late hour to watch over dreamers and scenes disarmed by sleep, a sad, fond ghost coaxing them to ‘surface into themselves.’ He is the purest kind of lyric poet, neither narrating nor explaining but saying over and over their beauty and poignance and power.”

    James Richardson
  • “Elegant … The poems are at once dreamlike and fervent in their will to cleave to the material world… . Wayne Miller remains a poet to watch, and one who strives to ‘separate / the seeing from what’s seen.’”

    Publishers Weekly
    *starred review*