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Play Lucretius

River, ditch, ocean, raindrop, Spring currents swirl the light in surprising ways—as does Play Lucretius, the new book of poems by Ed Barrett from Wet Cement Press. Full of brilliant rhythmic immediacy and syntactical arcs, as Ann Lauterbach puts it, these poems are as strikingly clear as they are surprising in their movements. Grounded in a close reading of the mundane and the memorable, they present an easy-going wisdom that sneaks up on you like a wave or an unexpected flash of insight. Play Lucretius is, in Charles North’s words, an imaginative, inspiring book.


“Lucretius, the Roman poet and philosopher, understood that the nature of things was found in particulars, atoms, that fell across the universe. In Play Lucretius, the particulars are as near as your local CVS, and Ed Barrett locates, in the brilliant rhythmic immediacy of syntactical arcs and the animations of recollected moments, the salvaged grace of an ordinary sublime, ‘tolling,/lunging and diffusing its/iconic predicaments/in a vivacious scene.’ Trenchant, witty, informed and informing, this is a luminous, necessary collection.”

—Ann Lauterbach, author of Door


“Ed Barrett’s poems and prose poems are among the smartest, deftest, and most fearless I know, jumping without warning from his Brooklyn past to his Cambridge present (with an occasional stopover in Ireland or Greek myth), and from down-to-earth detail to surprisingly big, genuinely profound concerns. The “sidetracks” are not only as vivid as the main road but frequently the source of a poem’s magic. Like the soul which is ‘probably some combination of desire, expectation, necessity, fate (or character: character is fate, clomping around in goofy cothurni),’ Play Lucretius is an imaginative, inspiring book.

—Charles North, author of Everything and Other Poems

Play Lucretius

  • Paperback / 78 pages / 5" x 8"

    ISBN: 979-8-9883840-5-2

    Distributed by Ingram

    Pub Date: 4/15/2024

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