Out of Order

Winner of the 2021 Donald Justice Poetry Prize, selected by Quincy R. Lehr

US List Price: $16.95

Buy Now

Also available as e-book and audiobook.

Out of Order

Winner of the 2021 Donald Justice Poetry Prize, selected by Quincy R. Lehr

US List Price: $16.95

Buy Now

Also available as e-book and audiobook.

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.
—Literary Matters

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

Read More

Out of Order is Alexis Sears’s first book.  Alexis received her BA in Writing Seminars from Johns Hopkins University and her M.F.A. in poetry from the University of Wisconsin-Madison.  Her work has been widely published, including in the Cortland Review, Hopkins Review, Birmingham Poetry Review, Northwest Review, and Poet Lore.  She was a scholar at the Sewanee Writers’ Conference in 2019.  Currently, she […]

Learn More