Paperback Price: $14.95
Paperback ISBN: 978-1882295685

Selected Poem


King Baby, many things go by
I want to tell of:
that plastic bag, crumpled
and rifled by wind so resembles
a hurt pigeon, I can hardly
walk past without stopping to help.
And yesterday, the orange halo
burnt around a leaking battery shone;
a little shelf of ice hanging over the gutter
cracked when I pressed it, and made the sound
of a box shutting, a shoebox, some barest,
smallest breath and echo in the store
I stopped to listen to.
The ice was opaque, very fragile, and below,
the melt was running. I could hear it, but it was hidden,
like a red bird in a red place is hidden.

King Baby

“Purpura’s charming [third collection]…captures both the fierce love and the flighty weirdness of life with a baby, opting always for the symbolic and the surprising over the literal record…”
Publishers Weekly

“This book-length sequence is reminiscent of poems by Pulitzer Prize-winning poet Louise Glück, with its hypnotic voice and its otherworldly reach.”
Library Journal

“In King Baby…Purpura uses the physical as a conduit to the metaphysical; and circles this found fetish in ever-more-incisive gyres, to probe the never-satisfied nature of human yearning…She is particularly effective at distilling those elusive slithers of creative clarity we sometimes experience in our daily lives…Purpura is a wordsmith of the highest order…”
—Susan McCallum-Smith, WYPR Radio

“The poems are exquisitely tender and reverent, each temporarily holding emptiness in place with images and stories, each looking for something that can stand for holiness.”
ForeWord Magazine

“The poems in King Baby are both folk tales and found objects: every line reaches the page like Pushkin’s talking goldfish. A child’s discovery of a hand-carved totem frees Purpura from the daily rounds of semiotics. Like the Swedish poet Gunnar Ekelof’s work, every poem in this collection reminds us that we are each still newly placed among the living.”
—Stephen Kuusisto

“‘The story of your creation starts/with a force that wanted something,’ Lia Purpura writes, ‘and worked to see if you were it.’ A myth of motherhood, a parable of artistic creation, a suite of hymns to an ambiguous emblem, this compelling, Orphic sequence pushes deeply into its chosen vehicle, seeking the difference between song and hunger.”
—Mark Doty

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