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The Refusal of Suitors

by Ryo Yamaguchi




The Refusal of Suitors draws on Penelope and her loom to engage the landscapes, wants, forms, and ultimately the repetitions and variations of contemporary urban life. Through varying styles, voices, and layouts, these poems move collectively with a sonic force, the “pure acoustics of declaratives,” through “a night that begins / with our falling asleep, the wet paragraph that he aspirates,” with a visionary amalgam of phenomenon and symbol. From long-lined, romantic odes to tight, pictorial meditations akin to classical Asian poetry—from the jocular to the reposed to the amorous to the despondent—these are poems that are never satisfied, that relish the “sweet chorea of the longest day.”

About the Author

Ryo Yamaguchi has an MFA from the University of Minnesota, Twin Cities. His poems have appeared in the The Iowa ReviewAmerican Letters & Commentary, and Tin House, among other places. He lives in Chicago, where he works at the University of Chicago Press.

The Refusal of Suitors


Ryo Yamaguchi is the pastoral poet of the city, whose odes elevate the everyday and take the small seriously. He is a patient observer, and his voice has its own quiet urban ethics: “Fired in transistor size, thought-up, I have been a real / student of particulars, boulevard description of the as-such.”

Carrie Olivia Adams

author of Operating Theater