Homing Devices

Liz Waldner

1998 • 84 pp. • $10.00
ISBN: 9781882022311

Purchase from Small Press Distribution

“This alphabet is very small again; are there enough letters to spell my way to you?”
–Liz Waldner

“Liz Waldner’s HOMING DEVICES is “more of a wiry museum than a book” that takes turns in language either for its own sense of aversion or for the quality of the ride. The book is restless in its methods but tricky at the same time, drawing upon both historical and contemporary myth, allusions to high and low culture and personal efforts throughout. “HOMING DEVICES awakened me to how often I’m unused when I read, here I’m occupied, confused, satisfied.””
—Eileen Myles


Liz Waldner was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and raised in rural Mississippi. She received a BA in philosophy and mathematics from St. John’s College. She is the author of TRUST (Cleveland State University Poetry Center, 2009); SAVING THE APPEARANCES (Ahsahta Press, 2004); Dark Would (the missing person) (University of Georgia Press) winner of the 2002 Contemporary Poetry Series; ETYM(BI)OLOGY (Omnidawn Press, 2002); SELF AND SIMULACRA (2001), winner of the Alice James Books Beatrice Hawley Prize; A Point Is That Which Has No Part (2000), which received the 2000 James Laughlin Award and the 1999 Iowa Poetry Prize; and HOMING DEVICES (1998). Her poetry has appeared in journals such as Colorado Review, DENVER QUARTERLY, NEW AMERICAN WRITING, Ploughshares, and VOLT. Her awards include grants from the Massachusetts Cultural Council, the Boomerang Foundation, and the Barbara Deming Memorial Money for Women Fund. She has also received fellowships from the Vermont Studio Center, the Djerassi Foundation, and the MacDowell Colony.


From: The Surfing Underneath

This alphabet is very small again; are there letters enough to spell my way to you? The glittery litter of moonlight on water, a way into and through and through. I hear the waves. Perhaps, I thought as a surfer sailed past the cliff-framed glimpse at the end of the street, Jesus surfed. Because at first, I thought it was someone fast-paced on the face of the waters.

The prattle of the ants, as they spell out moving what they mean, their hieroglyphs of leg, antennae and three-bead bodies, making of themselves the name of themselves. If you put properly lined paper beneath them, paper scored in a musical way, then you could have the music of the ant spheres. My dear. And if you herded ant feet through a sheen of beet, their traces could line faces or efface plans to meet destiny in later places by limning you with the feel of Now (and now and now and now). Mapping, getting it down right now. Get down right now, antling. Cat, ling, a fish. A thing and its desire. A cat-ling black as an ant in the prow of a pine yesterday eve then twined my shin like a pleasure vine when I talked it down to me. Talk it down. Spell it out. Be. Spelling bee. Quilting bee. You’re the bees’ knees. So am I. This is different from “but so am I,” note please. “But” is (and again) the butt joint, a way to sit down, one way smack broadside into another. Collisional conjunctive, provisional, subjunctive. What the bees know. Bees gather pollen tasties in the hollows behind their kneecaps. Although I loathe the word “tasties,” I made that sentence because I love you. I can’t help it. Either it. Do you know? You could, you know. You know, you could.

From: The Burden of a Prayer

end and begin.
Jay with To Eat in its beak, this, then,
is desire, a device. To make me
allow to breathe. In tine. Fork
spaces at first but then. This, then
is a desire device. O star
fairest of all that shine
now shall I go