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By: Erika Meitner

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About This Title

"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

"The poems in Copia are about what is and what is almost-gone, what is in limbo and what won't 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

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.



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.