Drawing equally from Wallace Stevens, Gertrude Stein, John Berryman, and Robert Frost, Samuel Amadon's award-winning "Like a Sea" is a collection of poems where personality is foregrounded and speech is both bizarre and familiar. Central to this weirdly talky work is 'Each H', a sequence of eleven monologues and dialogues wherein an unknown number of speakers examine their collective and singular identities while simultaneously distorting them. From a sequence of pared-down sonnets to a more traditional lyric to a procedural collage inspired by J. D. Salinger, Ezra Pound, Robert Lowell, Walter Benjamin, Jane Kenyon, Joris-Karl Huysmans, Primo Levi, Eugenio Montale, and Edwin Arlington Robinson, "Like a Sea" is a book of significant variation and originality. Amadon's electric collection begins with the line 'I could not sound like anyone but me', and through a wide range of forms and styles and voices he tests the true limits of that statement. The image of a half-abandoned Hartford, Connecticut, remains in the background of these poems, casting a tone of brokenness and haplessness.
Ultimately Amadon's poems present the confusion and fear of the current moment, of Stevens' 'river that flows nowhere, like a sea', equally alongside its joyful ridiculousness and possibility. Rather than create worlds, they point out what a strange world already exists.
Samuel Amadon was born and raised in Hartford, Connecticut. His poems have appeared in the American Poetry Review, Denver Quarterly, Tin House, Boston Review, VOLT, and elsewhere. A recipient of fellowships and scholarships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown and the Bread Loaf Writers Conference and the author of the chapbooks Advice for Young Couples, Goodnight Lung, and Each H, he is currently a Ph.D. student at the University of Houston and the coeditor of Projective Industries, a chapbook press.
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