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TMOMKFrontCoverThe ms of my kin (Shearsman, 2009)

“If Ronald Johnson had an epic (Paradise Lost) to erase in creating his masterwork, RADI OS, then Janet Holmes has chosen a more difficult task, namely that of erasing from the most compressed poetry there is. Emily Dickinson’s poems come to us so nearly pre-erased that their further erasure by Holmes dramatically frees instances of prophecy, voices from 1861–62 rediscovered in contemporary political discourse. It seems that the best of the embeds in Iraq was Emily Dickinson; read her reports from the (af)front here.” —Susan M. Schultz

“In the tradition of Tom Phillips’ A Humument and Ronald Johnson’s RADI OS, Janet Holmes mines or excises Emily Dickinson’s Civil War period poems to engender a vision of the current wars in the Middle East that is both a ticker-tape of the spirit and a Spoon River Anthology of the soul; that war is war and its words already written.” —Tom Raworth


F2F (U Notre Dame Pr, 2006)

“In F2F, the word-wall between author and reader becomes a projection screen for a shadow-play of sad couplings—Echo and Narcissus, Eurydice and Orpheus, a pair of instant-messaging lovers. Be warned: the witty, techy feel of Holmes’ writing is the flashy surface of a bruising vision of human interaction in which self-exposure is impossible and invisibility is punishingly lonely.” —Catherine Wagner

“Holmes’s attention to sound (‘write with light / durable words indelible’) is familiar poetic territory, but here it takes on new meaning because it so exceeds, or opposes, the text-messaging medium from which the language is drawn. This is like William Carlos Williams’s experiments—or Bob Creeley’s—in the excerpting and reframing of casual speech; the perception that a general method could be applied to a new, apparently unpromising and impoverished linguistic realm is one of the book’s most forward brilliances.”Charles O. Hartman

“E, Echo, Eurydice, Emily and Eros—legacy resonance meets current disturbance f2f in Janet Holmes’s melancholy music; reader, she addresses you, as she gently probes, pings, love life on the network.” —Stephanie Strickland


Humanophone (U of Notre Dame Pr, 2001)

“…true originality of conception, inventive audacity… The delicacy and subtlety of [Holmes’s] work have grown with each reading.”—W.S. Merwin, conferring the Pablo Neruda Award

“Witty, learned, bedazzling, bold… beautifully unpredictable… the variety of her purposes winningly enliven the forms they invent.”—James Applewhite, author of Daytime and Starlight

“The humanophone is a musical instrument made up of singers, each of whom sings only one pitch, so that each change of pitch in a musical line brings a change of timbre. It was invented by New England bandmaster George Ives (father of Charles), one of three American musical avant-gardists whom Holmes limns in the longest poems in this collection, which, after a half century in which poetry seemed joined at the hip to painting, reaffirms the affinity of music and poetry. Holmes’ other heroes are Raymond Scott, composer for Warner Brothers’ original Loony Toons, and Harry Partch, who descried 43, not just 12, discrete tones in the musical scale. Out of their words and deeds Holmes makes moving and amusing poems. She opens the book with the musicological ‘Whistle’; discusses music, musicians, and the musicality of everyday life in several poems; gives others specifically musical titles, such as ‘Cold Song’; and seems to accompany the few that subtly disclose a disintegrated love affair with a sad pedal point. Altogether, a most memorable concert.” —Ray Olson in Booklist. Copyright © American Library Association.

tuxedo_bkThe Green Tuxedo (U Notre Dame Pr, 1998)

Winner, The Ernest Sandeen Prize in Poetry

“Janet Holmes’s first book, The Physicist at the Mall, introduced us to a remarkable new voice: fiercely intelligent, buoyant with humor, alert to mysteries of language and landscape. The Green Tuxedo more than fulfills the earlier book’s promise, adding to it a formal inventiveness and mastery that amazes and delights…. If any recent book could capture a new and reluctant audience for poetry, this is it.” —Tom Andrews

The Green Tuxedo is a wonderful book…. Godspeed this book’s light into the darkness that surrounds us all.” —Thomas Lux

The Green Tuxedo is one of the most original books of poetry I’ve read in some time. Janet Holmes possesses an enviable virtuosity: whether in luminous lyric voice or in the seemingly straightforward prose ‘found poem’ segments, her subtle shifts of mind and canny juxtapositions delight the reader with digressions and returns, with perceptiveness and grace.” —Susan Ludvigson

physicist_bkThe Physicist at the Mall (Anhinga Press, 1994)

Winner, The Anhinga Prize

“‘What do you want?’ Janet Holmes asks, and then answers: ‘Patterns that make you utter/ surprise.’ That’s a good description of good poems: patterns of words whose utterance is an utter surprise. That’s what we want from poems: surprise, discovery, a sense of irreducible verbal rightness. And that’s what Janet Holmes gives us in this fine book.” —Michael McFee, Duke Magazine

“Holmes’s poems, like the physicist of the title piece (‘having made doubt/ his particular art’), struggle with dichotomies…. The physicist holds fast to his doubt, but what’s at stake for Holmes is faith—faith in its usual religious connotation and faith in the human ability to sustain love…. Holmes discovers the world in all its sensuality, rendering it brilliantly colored, exotic.” —Judith Kitchen, The Georgia Review

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