Winner of the 2012 Colorado Prize for Poetry, selected by Cole Swensen

Marvelously sustained and densely rhythmic, this tightly constructed whole is built of parts that, at each level, all the way down to the phrase, constitute poems in themselves. Baus manages to keep a cast of words in constant replay until many of them take on the presence of character, and some emerge as characters themselves—Minus and Iris, for instance—keeping the whole on the verge of a narrative project that remains always just barely out of reach, just barely in another world in which language and animal endlessly interleave. Baus has opened a new literary field: the linguistic bestiary, a new zoo where words pace like fauves behind ever-thinning bars. —COLE SWENSEN

“Here the street [is] both omen and throat,” and the medium you are moving through is sound, bodily, every inch of it, liquid or crystal. You can hear language splash and break, and to tell what’s true you look at the fork in the seed-syllables, and find that sounds proliferate meaning. These poems tell us how to do things (“how to hand a glass deer a beetle”) in the vector field, where our very utterances pull toward each other with magnetic force. They are models of speed and direction through space, with divergence and curl. They tell the tongue how to do amazing things, and the mind follows. —ELENI SIKELIANOS

Eric Baus was born in Fort Wayne, Indiana, in 1975. His books include Tuned Droves (Octopus Books), The To Sound (Verse Press/Wave Books, Winner of the 2002 Verse Prize, selected by Forrest Gander), and several chapbooks. He currently lives in Denver.

Read an excerpt from Scared Text.