Etymology is a dazzling first collection from award winning poet, Bryan Walpert. Walpert uses language with the dexterity of a verbal magician, pushing at the boundaries of perception and meaning to take risks, tell stories or smuggle in jokes. Moving deftly between touching, but never sentimental, observations of human relationships and luminous accounts of objects, natural phenomena that take on meaning, Etymology is an intelligent, innovative lyric inquiry into discourse and sense.
“Like sweeping dusty slivers of glass and mirror with one’s fingertips, in these carefully formed poems, we see through and see opaquely away and toward ourselves. There’s science here. There’s art and history and language. But Walpert weighs his clear-sighted intellect against a sense of the head’s own intimate futility: That it knows whatever it constructs, it is done and undone in praise to a confoundingly strange and vulnerable heart.” – James Hoch, author of Miscreants
“In Etymology Bryan Walpert communicates with graceful humor and sharp intelligence his fascination with the lineage, history, and origins of words. …a brilliant, playful and heartfelt calculus demonstrating that metaphor is poetry’s etymology and as such he reminds us that the power of language is rooted in the contrarities of human speech.” – Michael Collier, author of My Bishop and Other Poems
“The poems are clever and – as the title indicates – involve some marvellous word-plays and layering and unlayering of words, but the palms of these carefully chosen words also cup sentiment and blow on it and make it flare.” – Mary McCallum, author of The Blue (Read full review)
“An intellectual and imaginative exploration of human relationships and poetry itself. Never overly emotional, Bryan is actually restrained and amusing and can turn a pretty mean metaphor which makes for a colourful and enlightening read.” – Keith Nunes, NZ Poetry Society (Read full review)