The Refusal of Suitors is my first collection of poetry, published by the wonderful Noemi Press. You can read some blurbs and purchase copies of the book below.
The Refusal of Suitors
“Searching for precision in a poetic landscape, Yamaguchi’s debut collection displays a cerebral poetics steeped in a dualism of the urban (‘I jumped your turnstiles// and married myself to your multiple darks’) and the idyllic (‘a garden soaked/ in yeses’).The poems alternate between short, taut blocks and spacious, long-lined reflections. Yamaguchi’s principal preoccupation is naming and calculating; the solving of equations serves as an antidote to the shiftlessness that permeates the atmosphere. . . “—Publishers Weekly (read the entire review)
“Eccentric, exciting, and unimaginably original poems that are emotionally and intellectually satisfying, exquisitely composed, and memorable. They combine a sense of personal engagement, lyric elegance, and contemporary energy. These poems make me glad to be alive.”—Sima Rabinowtiz, NewPages (read the entire review, featured in a review of an issue of the Birmingham Poetry Review)
“Does form make the poem? Robert Frost claimed that writing free verse poetry was ‘like playing tennis without a net.’ Ryo Yamaguchi’s poetry challenges the notion of imposing our will and wonders after the permeability of content. This poet understands the subjectivity of perception and does not insist on form, but instead loosely allows the verse to be contained. These are the experiences of a wandering poet–one who has known many containers, natural and man-made, who knows how little the natural world tolerates containment; how felled redwoods will sprout new life from up from their horizontal trunks and wisteria will climb and reach with the wide berth of the sun’s rays. But Yamaguchi does not write rainforests and plains, he writes the internal life, the interactions, the ‘urban sublime’ and gives it the reach the natural world. He finds amazement in all versions of beauty.” —New Books in Poetry (listen to the interview)
“Ryo Yamaguchi’s The Refusal of Suitors is a wondrous inhabitation of the liminal —a graceful and contemporary swerve between the doom and jubilance of the young person’s city. The flourishing awareness of modernity’s hidden truths in these poems, however, is entirely mature in its grand knowing and its struggle to want more than the good life of the present. Working to ‘have it all’ by proofing reports and contracts, waiting in yet another line, and generally following the rules is represented as a prison-like bleeding-out—the death of vision. The dexterous expanse and variety in The Refusal of Suitors is thick with the gorgeous clutter and quiet terror of a mind deeply aware of the possibility and failure that it contains, as well as of the with which disillusionment it cavorts. Yamaguchi aches for a churning humanness, digging beneath all of the cheap plastic, computer screens and designed obsolescence. Yamaguchi’s blade-edged intellect seamlessly welds amplitudes of language including business jargon, theory, the supernatural, and the rawness of adoration. Miscommunication and misunderstanding collide, full of praise and ephemerality. Our desire—’The moths are parting all around you, their chalk fuming, backlit by the sun all up the column of your height. Inside is a horse, a trophy, a kingdom that was just an afternoon’—is once again made subterranean by an avalanche of paperwork, of duplicate forms, of the collective’s ability to numb. ‘What was trivial has become grossly important, what was jettisoned has in fact been multiplied.’ The Refusal of Suitors is more than a superb first book—it is an exquisite and vital investigation into how blind we can become to the precious rawness of modern life.”—Alex Lemon, author of The Wish Book and Happy: A Memoir
“Ryo Yamaguchi is the pastoral poet of the city, whose odes elevate the everyday and take the small seriously. He is a patient observer, and his voice has its own quiet urban ethics: ‘Fired in transistor seize, thought-up, I have been a real / student of particulars, boulevard description of the as-such.'”—Carrie Olivia Adams, author of Operating Theater
“Drama of sensate consciousness. . . . Many times I found myself wondering whether this one-vowel incantatory tendency was a tic or sprang organically from what I am tempted to call ‘new lyric.’. . . this O rang robust as in Whitman, or melancholy, as in Keats and Shelley. The emotional range is not thin. The nature of the sublime remains an overt and going concern. . . . unfettered lyricism, a refusal of suitors that offers the sting of rejection, rather than the brandishing of a concept. . . . Its satisfactions are plenty.”—Johnny Payne, Cleaver Magazine (read the entire review)