poetry books

 

small crimes, front cover Small Crimes (2017)

Andrea Jurjević’s Small Crimes begins during the Croatian war years of the early 1990’s.  In the midst of bombings, sniper shootings, and firing squads, the speaker of the poems manages to live an almost normal adolescence, thanks to her grit, her attachment to family, and her skepticism.  The book then moves to the postwar years and onward into America, which is not without its own perils.  This is a collection that is often dark but just as often beautiful. Jurjević’s language crackles with energy, and she lingers lovingly over the intimate details of a life that is lived with the eyes wide open.

C. G. Hanzlicek, Philip Levine Prize judge

 

Available at AMAZON and at ANHINGA PRESS 

I love the way, in Andrea Jurjevic’s poems, beauty and horror walk arm-in-arm, the way each poem is dense, cacophonous with images, complex and layered as a Kusturica film; the way I want to look away, sometimes, and can’t. I love the way she takes me, through her poems, to the human underside of the war in her native Balkans, and to the underside of America, and to the underside of love. I love the wrecked love poems most of all, for their brutal tenderness, for what survives.
— Cecilia Woloch

War and love tend to bring out the most significant questions about our lives. With an extraordinary gift for language, Andrea Jurjevic reveals our own deepest needs and longings. These poems are beautiful but hard-nosed, and this book marks the debut of a fresh and important new voice in American poetry.
— David Bottoms

The title of this haunting and elegant book is ironic and deeply understated. I expect irony became a way of life, a reality ever-present in the up-turned world the war and dissolution of the former Yugoslavia at the root of these almost unrelenting poems. And the understatement is almost necessary as darkly comic ballast for the weight of the narrative facts. Almost, because countering the violence and grief in the near and distant history behind these poems, is an aching cry of passion, a claim for the love in human life that restores and sustains that life to give it meaning beyond the moment, beyond the privations and despair of present time. In that implicit song of love, one finds hope, transcendence, and any reader of this painful book of serious, artistic verse, will conclude the love discovered here is earned and, at once, miraculous. This book reminds us that life, in all its iterations, is utterly shocking and beautifully defiant.
— Maurice Manning