Onomo, Flaubert!

Onomo Flaubert book cover"The language Brigitte Byrd uses is neither her native French nor English, exactly, but a new language, one that is painterly, literary, musical. She’s alternately sassy ("my Baudelaire is not your Baudelaire") and vividly pictorial ("I am a hummingbird green with envy, fluttering above helpless hibiscus flowers at noon") as she barrels through the swampy American South, exchanging bons mots and mots justes with a host of characters, including a Flaubert who is Flaubert as well as a Flaubert who is a dog. Here there are no boundaries between anything and anything else: "We leap into the woods and land in a painting," says one poem, and another asks, "Is this how happiness sounds?" To that question and every other in this splendid book, I say yes."—David Kirby

"Brigitte Byrd's ONOMO, FLAUBERT! gestures at an inherited literary tradition only to expand what is possible within its confines. Rich with allusions and masterful in its aesthetic interventions, this collection reminds us that all of art is a conversation, a response to, and a deconstruction of, the work that came before one's own. Needless to say, Byrd's new collection is as erudite as it is innovative. This is a remarkable addition to an already accomplished body of work." —Kristina Marie Darling, author of DARK HORSE: Poems

Song of a Living Room

Song of a Living Room book coverInvoking theorists, philosophers, and such poets as John Berryman and Lyn Hejinian, Brigitte Byrd's third book of poems asks its readers to follow a ribbon threaded among music, movies, poetics, and an unlinear sense of time. Its prose poems recount and deconstruct a relationship between two central characters experiencing this journey "like an authentic vision. Like slipping into a Celtic Knot. Like a new perception of space."

Brigitte Byrd writes dense, lovely, provocative poems. Their prose forms and often rational diction are an entrancing shell game showing and shifting and showing again the true passion and lyricism of her work. In this way, she illuminates the eternal struggle that our minds and our bodies and our hearts are always engaged in with each other and with themselves. Song of a Living Room is a splendid collection. — Robert Olen Butler


Byrd's cerebral prose poems are couched in an air of hyper-rationality that belies their visceral energy. As those progenitors of the contemporary avant-garde, The Futurists, so famously encouraged in the years leading up to WWI, Byrd casts her analogic net so widely it convincingly illuminates the interrelationship between mind and body, subject and object, ego and environment. The sum of these efforts is no less than a new way of knowing--and of knowing the self. Also, some of the most accomplished prose poems of the last decade, work which demands an active readership--one prepared to be challenged by verse so rewarding it bears not only careful reading but re-reading and re-re-reading. Very, very highly recommended. Read more —Seth Abramson, Huffington Post

Song of a Living Room is an intriguing collection of poems that uses pleasurably lush language to explore the problems of displacement, alienation and the struggle to define ourselves and our surroundings. It is well worth the read. —Stephanie Burns, H_ngm_n

Byrd, in Song of a Living Room, treats speakerhood as a Godard-esque narration of disconnect… there is an imimitable sort of "voice-over" in the poems. Read more —Olivia Cronk, Bookslut

Byrd's method makes sense. This is the logic of daily life, of association, a leap from phrase to phrase, from line to line, a poem seeking Icarus's pleasures. Read more —Franklin Winslow, Coldfront

The book is a must read for any experimental poet searching for heightened language and enduring metaphor, as well as for any reader who can appreciate the sensuality of stunning wordcraft. Read more —Anna King, Apalachee Review

This book sounds good. The theme of this book is a melancholy echo, memory put to the pronoun, a musical effort made lyrical by its continual return to the French language. —Laura Carter

The Dazzling Land

Dazzling Land book cover"Wallace Stevens wrote that all poetry is experimental poetry. Brigitte Byrd's poems are experimental in the best, truest sense: she brings elements into new and unforeseen relationships. And 'There [is] music always in this imaginary understanding.' All the poems in this book are afloat in infinite possibilities and 'the shadows of exploration.' As she writes in '(of the impossible),' 'This was a dazzling land this imagination.' —Reginald Shepherd

"In Brigitte Byrd's new book, The Dazzling Land, theres simply too much texture to do justice to the work by pulling out a quote. But one sentence, 'We fed on sentences until words made up lies' is compelling for its paradoxical truth-telling. These poems are so deeply imagined, so funny and profane, so formally inventive, there is little here that does not burn sharply with the experience of truth. This book represents one of the most fully realized portraits of the self Ive read in a long time, a vigorous mirroring of consciousness. Its symphonic and unflinching, and pleasure reverberates for the reader in every line of this bold work." —David Dodd Lee

"The Dazzling Land is a magnificent book by a gifted writer. The poems gathered here are expansive in line and breath, soothing over you, the reader, like a cool wind filled with sweet fragrance . . . These poems offer us a clear elixir--to use the poets own wordsfor forgiveness . . . this is a tremendous, sonorous collection, one that will stay in your ears and mind for a good long time." —Virgil Suarez

Review of The Dazzling Land

"With a combination of poems that borrow from the traditions of French automatic writing, postmodern experimentation, and language poetry, Brigitte Byrd in The Dazzling Land bravely offers the reader a range of work that crackles with unexpected turns and astounding wordplay. Her work is difficult, but if one is patient, the poems here will open up in an intensely intellectual and complexly emotional display." — Apalachee Review read full review

Fence Above the Sea

Fence Above the Sea book cover"Her poems are like the best music: as intimate as a lovers body, as startling and fulfilling as a dream." —David Kirby

"The prose poems of Brigitte Byrd are a hymn to the everyday, but a hymn based on the contingencies of language. The six series in Fence Above the Sea are homage to poets and thinkers including Rilke, Cixous, Char, Artaud, and Radiohead, among others. She is a wise, ebullient poet whose prose poems are mosaics of humor and loss, a playful requiem for life as it is in this dangerous new century." —Maxine Chernoff

"[Byrd's] simplicity disarms us, as though we always mistook for difficulty our own acquisitiveness, sought more where lack itself was missing. I know of few books that undergo their words as utterly. Fence Above the Sea is a primer of presentness, that unimaginable task, this being here now." —R.M. Berry

The speaker of Brigitte Byrd's debut volume pivots in the roles of mourning daughter, affectionate mother, and poet whose attention to the sensory and sensual world never falters. In language both musical and linguistically playful, Byrd revivifies the form of unlineated lyric that in her hands reminds us of its French forebears and could never be termed prosaic. These poems haunt, ache, and celebrate by turns, and always they sing.

Reviews of Fence Above the Sea