Fretwork hazards a response to its dilemma by turning, skeptically and resiliently, toward the materials of lyric poetry and empathetic action, however fragmented and fragile. Glazer’s poems are sculpted word by word, their forms evoking both organic process and machined exactness. Their voice blends command and humility, openness and terseness, generosity and rigor, gravity and mordant humor.
“Book by extraordinary book, Michele Glazer has been making language to enable deep attention. In fretwork she is at her most personal, most grief-stricken, most original, and most spare. Her father dies, her mother dies; but before they do they become disconcertingly unpredictable, unfamiliar. She brings us intimately close to that fraying, or, more precisely, she brings us close to how their unpredictability and unfamiliarity finally become clear enough to recognize. Silence is both her tool and her subject, what she cuts with and through in order to remain attentive. Each hard-won moment is part of the push and pull of a mind alert and flexible enough to move and leap and recalibrate as it needs to. This is superb writing, always precise, unpredictable, authentic to its searching, unnervingly alive. I love this book for all the ways in which it remains gobsmackingly present to real bewilderment, while inhabiting a receptivity continually reoriented by care.”—Mary Szybist, author, Incarnadine
“More than elegy—and a poignant elegy it is—fretwork troubles the inconsistencies of inside and out, far and near. ‘Why measure only what you can see?’ asks Glazer. Reading, I felt very aware of language, as well as the gaps and breaks therein, and the desire we have to meet one another, here, in this world. Fiercely tender, these are poems I’ll turn to, again and again.”—Sally Keith, author, River House
“Heir to Gerard Manley Hopkins’s unwavering gaze, Michele Glazer coolly attends to the arbitrary and often terrifying boundaries we claim between nature and culture and lets us witness how elusive and submerged human beings are to each other, especially at close proximity. I felt, in reading these poems, that this is someone who is tracking her world from an altogether different distance than the rest of us, who has an utterly original apprehension of the relationship between depths and surfaces. Death appears at the edges of things, whether or not we want to look—but when we look, we are intensely magnified, made vivid and rare by our kinship with strangeness. I found fretwork devastating, funny, unsettling, and radiant—I felt my life jolted into view.”—Joanna Klink, author, The Nightfields
“Michele Glazer’s splendid new book, fretwork, briskly confronts the thing itself: unadorned, impending death and the bald ironies and horrors that come with witness of its approach to the parent. Glazer conveys the loss of memory, language, facial recognition in a spare vocabulary and with stunningly abrupt, whipsawing line breaks that underscore the complexities of this experience for the dying as well as the attending. Glazer is brave; she is witness to the end; lucky for us, she has been the bad daughter, taking notes. The truths she delivers are bracing.”—Christine Schutt, author, Pure Hollywood
2023 Oregon Book Award Finalist