Black Lawrence Press

The Narcoleptic Yard

The Narcoleptic Yard by Charity Ketz

The Narcoleptic Yard is above all a book about myths—not a book of myths but a book about them, about the quiet myths of inner and outer spaces, about orderliness and animality, and about what seemingly does not count as cruel since it has already passed into the trite. This is a book that tests discomfort. It is a book about tickling, about pets, about moments perpetually ordained for ignorance, and about the manipulations of pity. The Narcoleptic Yard finds its matter in the uneasy strains of family and erotic love and in the constant, flickering sleepiness that accompanies expected force.

The poems happen beside green-black domestic woods, before wire rabbit cages, in the talk of aunts, and in the nowhere place of speculation; this is a poetics of being lifted-by-the-nape, a poetics of despair in the embodied and in the disembodied, a poetics that finds itself “at home” and yet decidedly not at home in its scavenging practices, its residual noons, in what will be enough.

Praise

  • "Here is raw American religion, family romance gone bad, and the violence of individual consciousness. Here is a fearless new poet whose vision and language create fragments that are really shards sharp enough to cut through the lies of everyday life and draw blood. A rabbit's ribcage she calls "a nest of umbrellas / swung upward." Brittle and edgy, almost fragile, these poems are nonetheless willfully, skillfully gorgeous. Their stark articulations glance like locusts—the Biblical name Ketz calls cicadas—or bullets off the things of this earth."
    —Julia Spicher Kasdorf

    "In her brilliant first book, Charity Ketz writes tumultuous truths. Mystical in its delicacy yet scientific in its exactitude, The Narcoleptic Yard replicates the ineffable, gives it a location and a name, even as it acknowledges the mundane or punishing aspects of materiality. With passionate honesty, Charity Ketz infuses family dynamics with a quiddity equal to their complexity. Her powerful poems encounter cruelty and suffering with a ferocious subtlety, an unsparing intelligence that is devoid of sentimentality yet full of feeling. There's nothing facile, nothing glib. Who knew that domestic life held such shimmering reserves?"
    —Alice Fulton

    "Halfway through the book the poet asks, 'Do I have to mean everything I say?' The answer's never given but The Narcoleptic Yard rises, again and again, to the occasions of the question. These poems—of snow, the ache for wholeness and 'what will be enough,' of thought and talking and the facts of luck—both document and complicate ways of meaning. This is unsettling work
    and gorgeous work as well."
    —C.S. Giscombe

Charity Ketz

Charity Ketz was born in Roanoke, VA and grew up in Central Pennsylvania. She received her BA from Penn State University and an MFA from Cornell University and has previously published a chapbook, Locust in Bloom, from Poet’s Corner Press. She has worked as an orthodontist’s assistant, as a waitress, as a figure skating coach, and as an English lecturer. She is currently a PhD student at U.C. Berkeley.

Ketz Author page