Anders Carlson-Wee is the author of The Low Passions (W.W. Norton, 2019), a New York Public Library Book Group Selection, and Dynamite (Bull City Press, 2015), winner of the Frost Place Chapbook Prize. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, BuzzFeed, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Sun, Poetry Daily, Best American Nonrequired Reading, and many other publications. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Poets & Writers, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, he is the winner of the 2017 Poetry International Prize. His work has been translated into Chinese. Anders holds an MFA from Vanderbilt University and lives in Cincinnati. He is represented by Rob McQuilkin at Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents. He lives in Los Angeles.
2017 Eric Hoffer Award Grand Prize Shortlist
2017 Eric Hoffer Award: Chapbook Category, First Runner-Up
Select Poems from Mercy Songs
Photo Courtesy of the Author
About the Book
This is a wholly unique and powerful collection of poems. The sense of purpose puts one in mind of Whitman’s “Song of the Open Road,” but the darker need to search for meaning in the American plains and points farther west—a vastness forlorn and almost unknowable—belongs to the shared vision of these two brother-poets. Their journeys through our national ambiguity discover a flicker in our roots, a spark popping from obscurity that rises into the heavens.
—Maurice Manning, author of Railsplitter
Strangers, stragglers, the homeless, and a girl named Saturday who plays the guitar—from Seattle, to Portland, to Bolinas, mercy songs traces our human roots back to the first of us who roamed the earth, back when “We knew there was something important inside the sound.” These brothers speak to one another in a private language made lyric, made public, knowing no matter who they meet along the way, no one will ever know them as intimately as they know one another. A hauntingly beautiful and unusual debut collection.
—Dorianne Laux, author of Only As the Day Is Long