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Donovan's clever, razor-sharp poems foreground a contemporary absurdity so ubiquitous that it often goes unnoticed. Her observations about our “crazy-ass” self-involved world, emerging from her often hilarious focus on the “vexatious anticlimax” of our moment, are framed by a subtle exploration of Leibniz’s metaphysical yet scientific Monad and Emerson’s physical yet transcendental Mount Monadnock. It’s a mind-stretching tour de force, as entertaining as it is thought provoking.


Donovan’s poems are “equally alive to popular culture and advanced mathematics, physical and metaphysical realms, the domesticated and not—these poems will sing you into orbit.”  —Maya Janson


"Karen Donovan balances a poet’s concerns with those of the itinerant philosopher. Witty and esoteric, these poems— peppered with toast and pixels, deviled eggs and eternity—leap line by line from reverence to irreverence. " — Tina Cane




     Please answer as completely and concisely

     as possible. You are being timed.


     A whistle floating by the window

     Doppler-shifts Cole Porter.


     I line up my three Ticonderogas side to side,

     thinking a segment of orange stockade fence.


     This booklet may include for experimental use

     questions that have no correct solution.



Karen Donovan lives in Rhode Island, where she works in the nonprofit community as a writer and editor. She is the author of Planet Parable (Etruscan Press), Your Enzymes Are Calling the Ancients (Persea Books) and Fugitive Red (University of Massachusetts Press). Her book of illustrated short prose, Aard-vark to Axolotl (Etruscan Press) is a collection of tiny stories and essays inspired by the engravings in a vintage Webster’s dictionary.


  • Poetry


    Karen Donovan


    75 pages, 4.25"x7", Perfect Bound

    Publication Date: October 2022

    Distributed by Ingram

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