Merging the spirits of Don Quixote, Shakespearean fools, Theodore Roethke, Frank O’Hara, James Merrill, and the Marx Brothers, Zach Savich’s first book does more than showcase the innovative fluency of its roving forms and moods: these poetic hybrids are not hothouse blossoms but minotaurs. With ebullient intelligence and high-stakes insistence on the panic, lust, and suffering of the sensual world, Full Catastrophe Living uses the self as an instrument to investigate art, love, and the hardest honesty.

In meditations, songs, slapstick sequences, sonnets, narratives, and tightly carved fragments, Savich explores the conflicts between romance and reality, between inventing a new world and staying true to this one. Relishing both traditional and experimental poetics, he takes refreshing, ecumenical risks to show the “strange grace / of bells that ring with a rag’s polishing.” Like a Fourth of July band conductor guiding planes to land, his poetic wit alters what’s real. This book will change the ways that readers think about poetry, language’s expressive capacity, and the robust world around us.

Zach has been included in the Poetry Society of Americ's fourth installment of the biennial New American Poetry Series, which recognizes some of the most exciting recent first-book poets. To see Zach's page, please click here.

To hear an interview with Zach on the World Wide Word Radio Network, please click here.

“The poems of Zach Savich take root in a shape-shifting amalgam of juncture and disjuncture. Their intensely wrought language pleases the mind and troubles the heart as only the genuine article can. ‘Just say the feeling’s been thought.’ That synesthetic turn of phrase signals a remarkably talented and thoughtful search for an idiom honest to time and event. One hardly expects a first book to have such capacity, but this one does.”—Marvin Bell
“Playfully dire and mordantly rambunctious, Full Catastrophe Living, through deranged epigram and pointillist jabs, proves that electricity is musical and that poetry is the best of all conductors. Imagine Imagism crossed with Zen koans sent to us from a creature made entirely of ears and eyes. Imagine an expansive heart and mind speaking back to crows in Crow, to the heavens in Heaven-ese. Well, lucky for us, we don’t have to; all we have to do is read this book.”—Dean Young

Movie 1
Storefront 2
Pew 3
Don Quixote 4
Lessons for a Slow Child 8
Free-Hand Bandage 9
Reconsidered Vitamins 10
Serenade 11
Outside Santa Maria in Trastevere 12
Coda to Lessons for a Slow Child 13
Hotel 14
Real Estate 15
Grove 16
November Morning 17
“The Love of Simplicity Is the Love of Death” 18
Countryside 19
Fool 20
Federal Case 25
Winter Orange 26
For You to Find You Love Me, and Tell Me So 27
Crow Adoration 28
View from Above and Below 29
Crave 30
Animal 31
The Perfect Conditions 32
Then . . . 33
Sidewalk Sale 34
Black Walnut Adoration 35
Fool 36
On a Pose of Virgil’s 43
Poem for My Wife If We Are Married 44
On Piety 49
Of Conveniences 50
Curtain Light 51
Ohio 52
Psychic Break 53
See Through 54
Why Lie 55
A Dedication 56
Notes 57

The Love of Simplicity Is the Love of Death

 cut shades on baking sheets of truck beds. leaf

curls in on self. steam from near brewery

hot off its run-off hits cheeks: turn blushed cough

like I’m the bar stool still, gum carved spun me,

these years I use my body like an oar,

stack cords of quartered storm-fell logs

drive valley ruts check sun-blanched hive doors

(will honey boil?) for Alma old with dogs

on her river bluff. sand bar past the fertile hem

of forest down the field-side bank. scree-slope

for day’s sandwiches’ sad wishes (mustard salt ham

read dubliners). I slash down new rope

each eve for her so kids don’t miss cove swing land

on slants, as water out a hanging plant

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Publication Details

Publication Date
Pages, art, trim size
72 pages, 6 x 9 inches