The many meanings of “economy” are the ground for the mediation and lament of Ledger, Susan Wheeler’s fourth book. In its Greek origins, economy referred to the stewardship of a household and, as it developed, the word also came to include aspects of government and of religious faith. Ledger places an individual’s crisis of spirituality and personal stewardship, or management of her resources, against a backdrop of a culture that has focused its “economy” on financial gain and has misspent its own tangible and intangible resources.
“Susan Wheeler’s narrative glamour finds occasions in unlikely places: hardware stores, Herodotus, Hollywood Squares, Flemish paintings, green stamps, and echoes of archaic and cyber speech. What at first seems cacophonous comes in the end to seem invested with a mournful dignity: that of ‘the jangling discourse of our nation.’ Ledger is a treasure map for those willing to understand the journey.”—John Ashbery
“Part narrative, part satire, part cri de coeur, Susan Wheeler’s densely wrought new poems are alternately hilarious and chilling in their power to evoke the terrible contradictions of daily life in our media-driven landscape. Wheeler is that rare thing among poets, a genuine cultural critic; her poems use image and allusion with such exactitude that we see the things around us—from pop tarts to polyvinyl toilet seats—as if for the first time. Ledger is a dazzling collection.”—Marjorie Perloff, author of The Vienna Paradox
“Susan Wheeler is an exuberant, subtle, endlessly inventive original, and Ledger marks a wonderful advance in her already vital contribution to American poetry. Best of all in Ledger’s varied pleasures is ‘The Debtor in the Convex Mirror,’ an intricate splendor and triumphant fusion of technique and vision.”—Harold Bloom, author of Where Shall Wisdom Be Found?