The Surfacing of Excess ~ EWU Press 2010
Winner of 2009 Blue Lynx Prize, Eastern Washington University Press. Now under the aegis of Carnegie Mellon University Press.
Reviews of The Surfacing of Excess:
I have often thought that in the limited perception of mortals, there are only rare moments where we're capable of understanding how proofs and theories based in science can support faith in the divine. As methodical as St. Thomas Aquinas and as lyric as Rilke, Arianne Zwartjes provides truly plausible evidence of the existence of angels. Here is poetry that, to borrow a phrase from Rukeyser, walks in valvular air. There is no curve of the great void of space that is not now, for me, forever illuminated, thanks to this extraordinary new music of the spheres.
—D. A. Powell
Arianne Zwartjes's thoughtful, playful poems map the surfaces of language, image, flight, and architecture. Reading The Surfacing of Excess is like removing the boring part of your skull and letting the sky about your brain. Or like hanging around with the theoretical mathematicians' guild, getting goofy, drinking wine by the jug, positing geometries, speaking Greek. Ambitious, fragmented, and thinky in ways most poetry doesn't even attempt, triangulating by stars including Weil, Carson, Plato, Calvino, and Heidegger, Zwartjes is a new breed of bird in a sky filled with sameness. Part descent, part descant, always vector, in her words, herein you'll find "here / we know there is a mystery greater than beauty."
—Ander Monson, author of Neck Deep and Other Predicaments
In quest of the shape of escape, seeing liberty in the potential shapes of space, Zwartjes's elegant, intricate text poses frank questions: how can one reconcile Simone Weil and hyperbolic geometry, mathematical clarity, and personal history? And can a detailed and accurate understanding of flight compensate for our inability to fly? Zwartjes uses such questions to open an inquiry on relationship in its widest senses, employing marvelous phrasing and striking imagery to evoke our interlaced and ultimately unmappable trajectories.
—Cole Swenson, author of Ours
These lively "eco-poems" take the marvelous, but endangered, species called language on a lively quest for sustenance. Arianne Zwartjes contemplates mysteries, politics, emotions, and aesthetics, indulging us with a feast of realities. The "surfacing of excess" turns out not to be a clever phrase, or a ruse, but the hard work that a beautiful mind accomplishes, thinking about life, in Zwartjes's case, in an interlinked diction of science and religion, which resolves itself in a language of love.
—Jane Miller, author of Midnight and A Palace of Pearls