Ugly Duckling Presse


Jacqueline Waters

Poetry | $17 $13
Fall 2017
Buy"Poetic hyper-awareness that threatens and shapes the supraliminal state."
Commodore, Waters’ third poetry collection, is a book about care, both the two-way street of it and the hierarchy created by it. Or it’s about coming very close to your subject, intent on discerning shades of sentiment, full of nostalgia for things you didn’t really enjoy when they happened, concerned care might be an exploitable weakness, even as its cultivation becomes the only way to attract the mercy you will inevitably require…
Excerpt ˇ


The way to do history
Is not to care about it
Whatever you care for you diminish
Facts remain the same, changing with the day
While what is true of one repeats
By turning true of another
Everywhere the sound of crying
Neither immediate nor interesting
Unlike you, with those low goals
You’re not just going to overflow toward
You’ve got to list the ambitious pains
Persevere through the doubt you watch
Take inventive forms like clouds
Owing the world a form

Close ˆ

About the Author

Jacqueline Waters
Jacqueline Waters is the author of Commodore and One Sleeps the Other Doesn’t, both from Ugly Duckling Presse, and A Minute without Danger (Adventures in Poetry). More recent work has appeared in Chicago Review, Dreamboat, Fanzine, Harper's, Little Star and The American Reader.

Advance Praise

Jacqueline Waters is one of my favorite writers. How does she put her poems together? The architectonic images in this collection might provide some clue (for example, an office building whose breadth is significantly greater than its height so that it can’t, the speaker explains, truthfully be called a tower), or the intricate designs that her stanzas make on the page. Or it might be the tone that holds it all together, a perfect deadpan out of which emerges a demented moral vision whose contradictory precepts are candor and protection. (In her previous collection one of the poems was flanked by two other poems that were its guards.) Each line, like a branch from a decision tree, has an uncanny clarity that sometimes feels like reason itself. But something more than reason must be at work because in this atmosphere I seem to see considerably farther than the strength of mere human sight would allow — that’s the uncanny part.—Aaron Kunin
Wide-ranging in form and approach, this sly third collection from Waters interrogates the reciprocal relationship between inner speech and language as a mode of social communication… Waters suggests that voice is a social construct—that is only possible within a culture, yet resides within individuals even in the most solitary moments. This larger philosophical concern shapes the style of the poems, as the speaker’s interior monologues often read as a performance of ideals—of voice, identity, and narrative—that have been internalized. The performativity of the language comes through most visibly in the lineation, with its oddly timed pauses, evoking a sense of unease in a psyche populated by so many texts, voices, and personae.—Publishers Weekly