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 find 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.
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 

Out of Order is one of the most enjoyable collections I have read in a very long time—the poems are technically sound, the language is carefully curated and surprising, the subject matter is both deeply personal and uncomfortably universal. Sears touches on the legacy of suicide and mental illness, sexual assault, navigating America as a mixed race woman.
—The Poetry Question

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’s debut collection posits grief as a form of its own. A fitting winner for the 2021 Donald Justice Prize, the collection is rife with formal poems and tightly controlled rhyme. . . . Delivered with unwavering candor, the grief at the heart of this collection is a gift of trust: we’ve followed our heroine through poems of depression, microaggressions of biracial identity, and yearning. Thus, when the time comes, she’s left us prepared for the unadorned honesty of her loss.
—MudRoom

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 […]

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