Laynie Browne

Photo Credit: Ryan Collerd

Laynie Browne is the author of ten collections of poetry and two novels. Her most recent collection of poems, Lost Parkour Ps(alms) is out in two editions, one in English, and another in French, from Presses universitaires de Rouen et du Havré (2014). Her work appears recently in The Norton Anthology of Postmodern American Poetry (2013) as well as in Ecopoetry: A Contemporary American Anthology (Trinity University Press, 2013). Her honors include: a 2014 Pew Fellowship, the National Poetry Series Award, the Contemporary Poetry Series Award, and two Gertrude Stein Awards for Innovative American Poetry. She is co-editor of I’ll Drown My Book: Conceptual Writing by Women (Les Figues Press, 2012) and is currently editing an anthology of original essays on the Poet’s Novel. She teaches at University of Pennsylvania and at Swarthmore College. Forthcoming books include Scorpyn Odes (Kore Press) and P R A C T I C E (SplitLevel Texts).

Scorpyn Odes explores the iconic history of the scorpion in literature and mythology, as animal and constellation, demon, poison and guardian. What may be learned from a species with a four-hundred-million year history? How might evolutionary intelligence be a lens through which to consider various cultural maladies? Verse odes are interspersed with prose departures, and muse upon the many literal and metaphorical connotations of leaving. What must we celebrate, and from what must we depart in order to reaffirm a more sustainable humanity? What is the human equivalent to molting? What happens when disintegration of landscape becomes internalized? What depths of loss do we traverse in a time when toxicity challenges our ability to see our surroundings? How to build a house of hope with the potency to counter symptomatic forgetfulness? This work explores the possibility of “departure” as locomotion or energy source, travel and incantatory momentum.

Praise for Scorpyn Odes


As though looking over the poet’s shoulder as she writes, “I PROPHESIZE, I PROPHESIZE, I PROPHESIZE,” a bold current racing through the new Dark Age.  Laynie Browne’s Scorpyn Odes is a departure not only from her previous books, but a departure from the known book.  Having been a devout follower of her work for years, THESE are her poems I most want to chant aloud, “From I may not speak to the mountain, I may not look at the mountain, I may not remember the mountain.”  You thought you were aware of what poetry could mean to you, could do to you, then her poems did something new to you. — CAConrad, author of ECODEVIANCE

The mysterious power of the scorpion, both animal and constellation, informs the complex emotions of wrenchingly ongoing departure in this beautiful collection of odes to distance, absence, connection, and memory. The scorpion is the “miniature vessel of time” that both poisons and heals: the gorgeous poetry around it is the “house of hope/ constructed solely of words.” In this world of departures, Browne allows us to “Say possibly nothing is forgotten.” — Marcella Durand

Laynie Browne has a knack for moving between worlds to channel an orchestra of animal, vegetable, and mineral voices. Scorpyn Odes is gritty and sublime, a meditation on the affections and afflictions that make us human. –Lisa Jarnot, poet and Robert Duncan biographer (The Ambassador from Venus)

Excerpt from Scorpyn Odes

 

Scorpyn Ode

I prayed the dictionary
I asked pardon of dream
I feared scorpions in their silence
And walked each morning
into the rising mountain

I vowed not to become
the nullifying silence
But to nullify the other
paralysis being born

To speak with the elevated
precision of silence

From the marrow of consciousness
The living aspect of which appears solid
but isn’t complete
until we have left
the word, the mountain
and the scorpionic premises

Titles available from Kore Press

Scorpyn Odes by Laynie Browne
The Best of Kore Press: Poetry

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