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Copia - BOA Editions, Ltd.

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Copia

By: Erika Meitner

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About This Title

Signed copies available in limited supply

Erika Meitner’s fourth book grapples with the widespread implications of commercialism and over-consumption, particularly in exurban America. Documentary poems originally commissioned by Virginia Quarterly Review examine the now-bankrupt city of Detroit, once the thriving heart of the American Dream. Meitner probes the hulking ruins of office buildings, tract housing, superstores, construction sites, and freeways—exposing a vacuous world of decay and abandonment—while holding out hope for re-birth from ashes.

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Because the image he makes is painted
by flashlight: expired storefront, vacate
space where the elements didn’t take
a toll on bits of smooth façade due to
signage:  labelscar.  Outskirts:  because
our darks erase sirens in the distance,
pockmarked asphalt, the unknown
brightness of an indisposed place.  Who
wraps us with compassion for the world
to come? The wilderness. Box elders
and couch grass crack through cement
block, return this refuge for cast-off
plastic shoes and discarded Chevys with
the squared-off trunks of three decades
ago to verdant.  To once. Because we
rework time and space until both are
abandoned in a concrete grace: blown-
out sky, asperity, rippled bitumen,
monotonal hum. Because everything
beautiful is not far away. Because
one blue shopping cart knocked over,
joyridden, hears us sigh goodbye
Twentieth Century and the disposable
store glows quietly from within. In
the image of plenty we created them.
Because though this world is changing,
we will remain the same: abundant and
impossible to fill.

Praise for Copia

The poems in Copia are about what is and what is almost-gone, what is in limbo and what wont give way, what is almost at rock bottom but still and always brimming with possibility of miracle. Meitner writes of the signs and wonders of our American age ... She writes of the place, the displaced, the misplaced, the replaced, the excavated, the eradicated, the remembered and always, always, the seen ... I loved this book. It was a heart-breaking pleasure to read.” —Rachel Zucker

“Erika Meitner is the new voice of intelligent and emotional poems. Good for poetry. Good for poetry lovers. Good for the rest of us, too.” —Nikki Giovanni

Meitner, National Poetry Series Winner for Ideal Cities, delivers a collection that bursts with American abundance while simultaneously describing its decline. The collection centers around poems Meitner wrote after a commissioned trip to Detroit for Virginia Quarterly Review; inspired by urban exploration and what John Patrick Leary defined as ruin porn in his article Detroitism. But Meitner has a stake in personal exploration that brings intimacy and despair to these poems, which makes them more significant than the simple observations of an outsider ogling or exoticizing poverty and decay.Publishers Weekly Starred Review

When is it plenty? When is it enough? In Copia, Meitner gathers material from disparate places—big box stores, her grandmother, Yiddish speakers, her life in Blacksburg, VA, travel to Detroit—to consider these questions. The parts that she gathers, the fragments of language, the physical pieces of life, the things left behind, lost, abandoned are greater as a collection than any object individually. Things are more whole together, contained, bound. Meitner assembles plenitude only to ask, is plenty enough? That is the richness, the abundance of Copia. The Rumpus

In Erika Meitner’s Copia, the abundance of language referred to in the title springs from the American landscape. From the suburbs to the decaying city of Detroit, Meitner uncovers richness of meaning in plain American language. Common objects and signage become mediums for recovering history and personal memory. Rain Taxi

Copia is a collection that, like all good poetry, rewards repeated engagement. Meitner’s poems sometimes masquerade as simple reflections on the everyday, but between their lines hide startling associations and disconcerting realizations. This is what poetry should do: make us stop and take notice of everything happening—not just everywhere in our world and lives, but everywhere just beneath the surface of it all.” Patheos

“Erika Meitner is a poet who is unafraid to probe the hulking ruins of office buildings, tract housing, superstores, construction sites, and freeways, and doesn’t shy from the interactions that occur in the Wal-Mart parking lot. Copia—her fourth collection—also includes a section of documentary poems written about Detroit that were originally commissioned for Virginia Quarterly Review. If you’re interested in poetry that is fearless in its approach to the real world with all its beauty and warts equally on display, Meitner is your poet, and Copia is your book.” —BUSTLE

About the Author

Erika Meitner’s first collection of poetry, Inventory at the All-night Drugstore, won the 2002 Anhinga-Robert Dana Prize from Anhinga Press. Her second collection, Ideal Cities, won the 2009 National Poetry Series and was published by Harper Collins (2010). A graduate of Dartmouth College and the MFA program at the University of Virginia, she was a Henry Hoyns Fellow, and also earned an MA in Religion as a Morgenstern Fellow in Jewish Studies. Meitner is currently an associate professor of English in the MFA program at Virginia Tech.

Publication Date: September 9, 2014
ISBN: 978-1-938160-46-2

© BOA Editions, Ltd. 2014