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Sandra Liu: On Poems On
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Illustrator: Nils Karsten

~Poetry~ | $10 ($8 direct from UDP)
Perfect-bound. 28 pp, 5.25 x 7 in.
Publication Date: August 1, 2012

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In this collection of observational poems, Sandra considers the world around her, wherever she may be or between, and wherever her thoughts of her environment and her position in it take her. She uses language directly, sometimes broken, to reflect the inherent conflicts and harshness in nature, modernity, and man, but also their beauty and mysticism, and at times with a wry humour.


“The poetry of Sandra Liu is nervous and alive. Her voice has emerged, after long gestation, with an accent individual and disturbing. I am particularly moved by the immediacy of her meditations.”

–Harold Bloom 


“The poems in Sandra Liu’s ON POEMS ON are brisk and probing and at times a little nerdy, which I love. The adjective linguistic comes to mind—or lexical, but never (not ever) wordy, do you follow? At first the dice start moving a little: ‘he the pedogenesis.’ Then they begin to spin, quickly but not recklessly: ‘you can’t be blue/ unless you are a man/ who thinks he’s a berry.’ Like a clerk in a produce section leaning over a misted bin of radishes, it is my job to direct you to this work.”

–Michael Earl Craig


“Sandra Liu has written a book that seems to compassionately address just about everything I think about these days: the end of the earth as we know it, the question of multiplicity, how much multiplicity we can handle in the noisy sad din of information we are subject to and subject of, the break down of textual language we utilize to cover this ‘story.’ As such she is one of the small group of writers and intellectuals absorbing, rather than refusing or representing, the rubble we inhabit as the material from which might emerge contemporary forms of poetic sense.

“At first glance Liu approaches these things sonically in a prose metered verse that moves from geologic upheaval to political catastrophe. Seamlessly. The things that happen in time and space are connected without pause. The poet then reflectively wonders if such a conflation works narratively?: ‘Do events have to be part of a story. / How can two events be part of one story and also mean / two distinct stories.’ Formal use of capitalization and punctuation, even words themselves and the separations between them, are thrown over in favor of digital typography and a non-hierarchical surface between titles, poems, phonemes: ‘Please don’t firstline any stanzas.’ Does such recast conflate the title with first line or interrupt the narrative flow and separations between ‘stories’? No. We are inside the rupture, in political, linguistic, environmental crises where we are also sensual, polyvalent, dissonant, continuous.”

–Rachel Levitsky 


“Liu’s deliberate, probing lines inhabit the slow, factual inevitability of the long march of geological time and human invention, but at the same time are electric and bursting with the energy of the particular, syntax and sounds colliding like atoms rubbing together to move massive plates of emotion and thought.”

–Gillian Olivia Blythe Hamel, OmniVerse



This book was funded in part by a grant from the Jerome Foundation.



10.15.12 | On Poems On by Sandra Liu is reviewed in HTMLGIANT

10.09.12 | Pro Magenta/Be Met by Corina Copp and On Poems On by Sandra Liu reviewed at OmniVerse

Sandra Liu
Photo credit: Nils Karsten

Sandra Liu's work can be found in 1913, Hoboeye, and the Beloit Poetry Journal. She currently provides guidance for science & arts grantees at the poles and in New York City.

Nils Karsten is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts in New York. He received his BFA from the School of Visual Arts and his MFA from Vermont College of Fine Arts. His work has been shown in galleries and museums throughout the US and internationally.