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Boogie-Woogie Crisscross


Cover art by Matt Sasaki

These poems developed via e-mails exchanged between Tess Gallagher and Lawrence Matsuda over a number of years. The resulting collaboration is a poetry jam session where they trade and borrow images, and run riffs on each other’s poems in a responsive, competitive, and lighthearted way. At the start of each section they expand on what happens in their exchanges. Early on, Tess characterizes the style as being “kind of hip and comic book and jangly,” and also “prickly with antennae.” Like any dance it’s also an invitation to lose time and as Larry says—to show your “chops.” A kind of dueling banjos.

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It is impossible to read Tess Gallagher’s poems without being drawn into their mesmerizing rhythms and convinced of the rightness of her intense yet unforced images.  —Joyce Carol Oates

In Gallagher’s deft hands, it is plain to see that comedy and tragedy are two sides of the same coin.   —Entertainment Weekly

[Tess Gallagher’s] poems fly very low, hug the earth, walk or idle at a pace which allows us to see lights, empty lots, buildings, people behind the windows; they allow us to look inside the things and the houses, inside the faces and the bodies, and go through lives long gone, who appear in dreams or in the objects of the memory, kept in basements or on top of wardrobes. They are salvaged from oblivion and live together with beings who are not there anymore.   —Eli Tolaretxipi

[Lawrence Matsuda’s] singular poetic voice is sensual and searing, fierce and funny.   —John G. Hill

Matsuda has the ability to sear your mind and heart with startling images and emotions that stay with you for days.…   —Peg Cheng