What is Otherwise Infinite

ISBN:
978-1-951142-97-1
Pub Date:
01/18/2022
List Price:
$16.95
Page Count:
144
ISBN:
978-1-953534-05-7
Pub Date:
01/18/2022
List Price:
$16.95
Page Count:
144

A searching, startling new collection of poems from the author of The Möbius Strip Club of Grief and Someone Else’s Wedding Vows 

Written in four sections with incisive and vivid lyrical language, Bianca Stone’s What is Otherwise Infinite considers how we find our place in the world through themes of philosophy, religion, environment, myth, and psychology. “I deal only in the hardest pain-revivers, symbols and tongues,” writes Stone. “I want to tell you only / in the intimacy of our discomfort.” 

Populated by Archangels, limping in paradise; by allergies of the soul; the intimacy and danger of motherhood; psychic wounds; and dirty, dirty chocolate layer cake, Stone’s is a collection that deftly examines our inherent and inherited ideas of how to live, and the experience of the Self—which on one hand is so intensely personal, and on the other, universal.

Praise

  • This is like moral baroque and also an invitation to make things. I feel enclosed by something guiding here in these poems which feels deeply experienced and it may sound corny but I think Bianca Stone is raising the possibility that writing poems (or writing these poems) is an opportunity to give. Does that constitute a philosophy or a craft. She’s making that.

    —Eileen Myles

  • Bianca Stone’s What Is Otherwise Infinite is a majestic exploration in what it means to be alive. Interspersed between tender and grotesque descriptions of everyday and domestic life, the reader finds something holy here. There are the immortal voices of those thinkers and poets from the past who inform the landscape of the book, both mentally and spiritually. There are the haunting traces of the eternal present and of the possible future that seethe their resentment, regret, and even joy everywhere. There is also a human heart within the book beating so relentlessly that you can tell the time by it. But more than any of this, there is language here—real poetry—that transforms your way of seeing the world with its terrifyingly beautiful presence. This is a legendary book. It will change you. You must read it.

    —Dorothea Lasky, author of Animal

  • Bianca Stone is a seeker. Wry, funny, and often thwarted, mired in daily life, metaphysically tormented, afflicted by what she calls “allergies of the soul,” she searches for something deep and meaningful, something ongoing, mysterious, and ineffable. She has the impulse to kneel and be “thunderstruck with language,” to find “the new Eucharist,” to call out to a God who is also searching for God. What is Otherwise Infinite is a rare thing in contemporary American poetry—a spiritual testament.

    —Edward Hirsch, author of Stranger by Night

  • Poetry and comedy are really the same thing; they both depend on a kind of absolute, if also artfully deployed, vulnerability. There is no better proof of this than What is Otherwise Infinite by Bianca Stone. These poems are deadly earnest, but there are some serious truths that can only be revealed in a joking tone: ‘There are wildfires / switching course to worry about. / I take my daughter to the lake and watch her feel the tiny waves. / A seagull lifts a sandwich right from my hands.’ On almost every page, these poems take that kind of journey—from fear through tenderness to transcendence in only a few lines. In short lyrics and long poems, Stone unflinchingly faces her depths, finding surprising light in a dark and frightening time. I feel befriended by this generous book, which understands that, in some ways, happiness and sadness are also the same: ‘I have nothing to give but tears, of which one/ is too much and a whole sea/ not enough.’

    —Craig Morgan Teicher, author of Welcome to Sonnetville, New Jersey