Barbara Tomash is the author of three previous books of poetry, Arboreal (Apogee 2014), Flying in Water, which won the 2005 Winnow First Poetry Award, and The Secret of White (Spuyten Duyvil 2009). An earlier version of PRE- was a finalist for the 2016 Colorado Poetry Prize and for the Rescue Press Black Box Poetry Prize. Her poems have appeared in Colorado Review, Denver Quarterly, Web Conjunctions, New American Writing, VOLT, Verse, OmniVerse, Witness, and numerous other journals. She lives in Berkeley, California, and teaches in the Creative Writing Department at San Francisco State University.
Barbara Tomash’s PRE- is forthcoming from Black Radish Books, February 2018.
Praise for PRE-
All language is a game played in and through relation. PRE- takes seriously the playful question— what happens to language when words think for themselves?—and attempts to make that impossibility possible. By ingeniously uncoupling prefixes from their stems Barbara Tomash divorces ordinary words from their workaday labor of denotation. New and unforeseen thoughts form relationships in the gap after the prefix and its hyphen—“meaning, a small cavity, an inner space.” Indeed, we emerge from each of these meticulously notated poems as from the interior space of meditation: to a renewed faith in how we make meaning of our relation to the world. Ultimately, this book is “a setting into motion/with ceremony,” by which I mean it is a praise song to the generative power and startling ecstatic plasticity of language.—Brian Teare, author of The Empty Form Goes All the Way to Heaven
Tomash’s terrific new book PRE- reminds us of Emerson’s great notion that every word was once a poem. Here, not just every word, but every part of each word, in particular, the prefix, where we begin and begin. Deftly, brilliantly, with her characteristic wit, intelligence, and adventurous imagination, Barbara Tomash opens up the word and the world in these poems.—Gillian Conoley, author of Peace