In her newest collection, award-winning poet and memoirist Jennifer Militello confronts obsession, intimacy, and abuse. Through love poems inspired by such disparate spaces as a British art museum and the reptile house of a local zoo, poems comparing a romantic affair to the religious cult at Jonestown and a mother's role to a Congolese power figure bristling with nails, The Pact offers an indictment against affection and a portent against zeal. This book places pleasure alongside pain, even as it delivers Militello's trademark talent for innovation and ritualization of the strange.
About the Author
Jennifer Militello is the author of Knock Wood, winner of the Dzanc Nonfiction Prize (Dzanc Books, 2019), as well as four previous collections of poetry: A Camouflage of Specimens and Garments (Tupelo Press, 2016), called “positively bewitching” by Publishers Weekly, Body Thesaurus (Tupelo Press, 2013), named one of the top books of 2013 by Best American Poetry, Flinch of Song, winner of the Tupelo Press First Book Award, and the chapbook Anchor Chain, Open Sail. Her work has appeared widely in such journals as American Poetry Review, The Nation, The New Republic, The Paris Review, POETRY, and Tin House, and been anthologized in Best American Poetry, Best New Poets, and Poem-a-Day: 365 Poems for Every Occasion. Militello teaches in the MFA program at New England College.
“Jennifer Militello is one of the finest poets of her generation, an immensely original poet who has enriched American literature since her first book.”
“What a beautiful book of songs, pacts, spells, love poems, chants, pledges, odes! Such lyric abandon here, and also such deep lyric knowlede. Knowlede of what? you might ask. Of how bodies can ‘lenghten in rain’ and how an hour might become ‘a moth-eaten stain.’ ‘I keep my binoculars focused on / the past field,’ this poet says, ‘something might arrive / to coax the present field from its ghost.’ This kind of coaxing is most welcome. It isn’t the knowledge of past or foreknowledge. No. It is the lyric knowledge. To achieve it, one must go sideways, speak in tongues. ‘I promise you fraud,’ Militello tell us in one of her love poems. But then, if a reader is lucky enough to find a poet as talented as Jennifer Militello, one might as well use her own words, and, opening the book, say: ‘I promise to let you / brainwash me.’ Why? Because this is, indeed, a beautiful book.”
—Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa
“Militello’s language… is largely an exquisite example of the modern gothic: shadowy, beset by menacing weather and violent feelings, and positively bewitching.” —Publishers Weekly
“Militello makes order out of chaos sentence after sounding sentence, and succeeds in helping us at least try to understand human frailties.” —Booklist
“Militello’s poems… illuminate and mystify.” —The Rumpus