In her Foreword to Awayward, National Book Award-winning poet Jean Valentine writes, “Jennifer Kronovet’s poems in Awayward are so surprising and compelling and beautiful, so intelligent and felt. Kronovet uses simple words and works at a mysterious depth, one we can enter with gladness.” Written while Kronovet was living in Beijing, Awayward illuminates the sense of disconnect that travelers experience when their major touchstones of language and geography are altered. These poems wander the world, drifting in and out of conversations that are alternately comical and grave.
The town was built because
of a wall and before the wall.
The weather of having said
everything before is making us sing.
Instead of pointing,
we are moving forward. Holding
our little built world
between us as I try
to make a decision in two
languages at once, the decision
becoming a tourist site.
You’ve seen the pictures.
“In every poem, Kronovet searches ‘the corners / of fact’ and finds unusual things in plain sight . . . These free verse lyrics, stacks of narrow couplets, prose poems and poems in two lines are at once endearing and deadly serious.” —Publishers Weekly
“My God, what a brilliant collection Kronovet has written. Yes, Awayward is a smarty-pants book, but it’s also deeply sincere, heartfelt. I’m still recovering from my most recent reading of it.” —Gefilte Review