About the Book
Alexis Sears’s debut collection, Out of Order, is a collage of unapologetic intimacy, risk-taking vulnerability, and unwavering candor. A biracial millennial woman, Sears navigates the challenges of growing out of girlhood and into womanhood with its potential dangers, interrogating the male gaze, beauty standards, and confidence and identity. Pop culture references run through the collection, with rock icons David Bowie and Prince and poets like Kenneth Koch offering windows into desire and adaptation. In these poems, Sears works through heavy topics, such as loneliness, mental illness, chronic pain, the legacies of race and racism, and the aftermath of a father’s suicide. This young poet demonstrates an uncommon mastery of craft, writing in forms including the sonnet redoublé, sestina, canzone, and villanelle. With all her linguistic skills, Sears’s work remains approachable, offering readers a striking blend of honesty, humor, anguish, joy, and surprise.
Praise for Out of Order
Sears’s book is a winner of the Donald Justice Poetry Prize, and you’ll fi nd few modern poets with a truer relationship to the power of form. Sears works deft ly with sonnets, crowns of sonnets, canzones, and more—but no matter the form, these are poems of fi nding voice and the lines beating against the form like a heart beating through the pain of repetition.
—Gale Hemmann, Rain Taxi
Out of Order by Alexis Sears is an irreverent interrogation of loss that insists on the poet’s right to explore grief on her own terms.
—Harriet Books, Poetry Foundation
Sears’ ability to fuse absolute candor about her own vulnerabilities with formal virtuosity—even humor—is remarkable. That humor—bleak, ironic, sometimes hopeful—lends her work an electric charge, the touch of exhilaration that is art’s recompense for pain.
Alexis Sears dazzles while writing and reckoning with form. The sonnet crown, villanelle, sestina, and epic are honed by obsessions woven with levity amidst the madness of trauma and loss. I applaud the startling specificity, emotional truths, and stunning similes spilling throughout this collection. Out of Order packs a potent poetic punch with glosses to W.H. Auden, Kurt Cobain, and crying in Priuses. Here’s to a poet that takes risks on the page with lyric grit and brilliance.
—Tiana Clark, author of I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood