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Winner of the 2018 Press 53 Poetry Award

In The Arrows That Choose Us, Marilyn Annucci's poems of quiet observation startle with their precision: a curmudgeonly crow trapped in a yard "spreads his wings like a set / of black cards"; the knife at the bottom of a dishpan is "a mute battleship gone down on its side"; Houdini is "holding his breath in your bathtub." Metaphysical in scope, this collection offers meditations on intimacy and mortality, technology and luck. Annucci finds humor even in places of loneliness or disappointment, reminding us how "the arrows that choose us" never fail "to tear us awake."

Marilyn Annucci’s wonderful first book, The Arrows That Choose Us, sweeps us into sorrow, but with an exuberance and freshness that seems a neighbor to delight.  The ghosts of the past, she writes, exist “in a mind that won’t stop,” and, while many of these poems reside in the past, loss, and memory, they are imbued with a thinking-ness that is knife sharp, often puncturing a poem’s nostalgia, or even its tenderness. The Arrows That Choose Us is an exceptionally intelligent, persuasive, and mature first book.

Lynn Emanuel

Author of The Nerve of It: Poems New and Selected

The poems of The Arrows That Choose Us strike with an extraordinary mix of candor and craft. Harry Houdini, ghost writers, Three Musketeers, neighbors, and lovers appear amid meditations, songs and stories. The strange presses against the straightforward, the lively presses against the grave, "the human parts press against the holy" in this wonderful collection. Marilyn Annucci is supernaturally alert to “whatever is needed to tear us awake.”

Terrance Hayes

National Book Award winner and author of American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin 

Marilyn Annucci’s The Arrows That Choose Us is humorous, edgy, and ever surprising. It is a book that explores the untidy connections between humans and the puzzling but ever present world in poems that are witty, but always full of humanity and heart. It is an extraordinary and necessary book.

Jesse Lee Kercheval

Author of Dog Angel and Cinema Muto

Marilyn Annucci’s luminous and deeply affecting poems roam widely as they capture “the truth of [our] own small existence.” Metaphysical in scope, Annucci also knows that there is “no fire / but the lungs and hands and heart.” The Arrows That Choose Us is the most arresting collection I have read in years—lucid, intelligent, and unerringly true.

Alison Townsend

Author of Persephone in America and The Blue Dress

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