winner, 2016 Button Poetry Prize, selected by Aziza Barnes
This is a wild-gorgeous dangerous howl of a book.
Oh, this little book broke me. The language here is staggering, the formal ambition and virtuosity obvious even at a glance, but what sets Claire Schwartz’s poems apart is their monumental compassion dealing with subjects—homelands, genealogies, taxonomies, and the violent histories and presents inherent to each—which, in their infinite complexity, defy all but the most earnest and searching poets. In a breathtaking longer piece, Schwartz writes, “I have a truth & a family—which do I serve?” It’s this sort of questioning, this sort of fearless interrogation of inheritance that elevates Bound to a higher plane of art—it’s not just an incredible book of poems, it’s an incredible feat of empathy. I am a grateful student of its grace.