You Must Remember This
A woozy logic dominates these poems: a heart can become a buzzing hive of bees, a rooster can trigger a series of bombs, a young man can embrace a city bus as his spirit animal. Yet in this collection—selected by Kevin Prufer as the winner of the 2014 Lindquist & Vennum Prize for Poetry—Michael Bazzett slices through his poems with a dangerous sense of humor. “Your humor is deft and cutting / my fingers off one by one.” Once dismembered, Bazzett’s poems can re-member us and piece together the ways in which we once thought we knew ourselves, creating a new, strange sense of self.
A meditation on who we are, who we’ve been, and what we might become, Bazzett’s writing is like a note written in invisible ink: partially what we see on the page, but also the “many dozen doorways that we don’t walk through each day.” You Must Remember This is a consistently slippery, enrapturing collection of poems.
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Praise and Prizes
“You Must Remember This is a book of unnerving wonders, one in which improbable events are narrated with strange intimacy, lucidity, and sly wit. But Michael Bazzett is much more than a writer of imaginative narratives. Somewhere beneath the surfaces of these wild and lovely poems, I hear the clashing of individual personality with popular myth. You Must Remember This is an amazing book, one that continues to whisper in my ear after I’ve put it down.”
“Powered by the engine of the tricky dreaming mind, the poems in You Must Remember This are both hauntingly fable-like and delightfully idiosyncratic. Offering spectacular insight into the idea of longing for one’s own estranged self, Michael Bazzett’s poems are as tragic and unsettling as they are compelling and beautifully precise.”
“A debut collection whose mercurial sensibility and loose-woven free verse place Michael Bazzett somewhere between Robert Hass and Patricia Lockwood. His pages stand out, amid so many other mildly quirky or eccentric first books, because their verse comes closer than most to presenting real people in his imagined world.”
“In this collection of dreams and dissolve, Michael Bazzett evokes the impermanence of body, identity, relationships, and memory. Rich in both metonymy and insight, Bazzett occupies a poetic space where clouds are human bodies, the earth possesses another earth beneath it, and we have not been ourselves in a long time.”
“You Must Remember This holds a smeared pane of glass up to the world, tilts it back and forth, and lets the distortion become the image. In this way, we readers become strangers in familiar places and familiars in strange worlds that unfold at times, like fables and at others, like derailed jokes. Michael Bazzett’s poems resonate with heart, humor, song, and intellect, unlocking the core pleasures of reading poetry.”