Sundress Publications announces the release of Anna Meister’s What Nothing. A reckoning with the past, a bargain with memory, and a prayer for forgetting, What Nothing gives voice to someone for whom sadness is more than a feeling; it’s a place of residence, familiar as a home and strange as a sudden storm.
In her debut poetry collection, Anna Meister asks: how do you learn to live in a place like this? For someone who craves oblivion like salt, who knows what nothing is, staying alive is a lifetime of work. She discovers power in recognizing the dark — though naming it doesn’t make it any brighter but provides a way of seeing the shadows and giving them shape. With a persistent tenderness, Meister finds the somethings that lay a path and the someones who will guide the way, as they “queerly [weave] light into all my dark.” This is what we owe to one another: a hand in the darkness, a promise to be there on the other side.
Aracelis Girmay, author of The Black Maria, and a Whiting Award recipient, said of What Nothing, “Stagger, I stagger to meet these sensuous, brilliant poems stirring, now, in my branches. Here, form is shaped by urgency, and images carry their own weather and summon The Gone. Such poems sudden the blood, make new openings in the sense—awakening what poems can awaken across registers and feeling. See: ‘Look how young I was with my silence. Look at the cruel coat it wore.’ And: ‘I know what I’m talking about. / Please don’t die.’ They are so true, so idiosyncratic, so strange that I change shape to read them.”
Anna Meister is the author of two chapbooks, most recently As If (Glass Poetry Press, 2018). Meister studied poetry/memory/maps at Hampshire College and earned an MFA in poetry from New York University, where she served as Goldwater Writing Fellow. Her poems have appeared in BOAAT, Redivider, Kenyon Review, The Rumpus, and elsewhere. She lives in Des Moines, IA with her wife and son.