Second in the Mountain West Poetry Series, edited by Stephanie G’Schwind & Donald Revell

When you open this book, expect serious role-playing and syntactic tap dancing. The City She Was presents a world that brings “the horizon line into your lexicon,” and a poet’s muse (“The Endangered You”) is lent to a friend and returned “a little more frayed.” Giménez Smith muddles and enchants with her many masks, leaving the ground a little less stable under our feet.

Matthea Harvey, author of Modern Life, Sad Little Breathing Machine, and Pity the Bathtub Its Forced Embrace of the Human Form

The human body has only five senses but The City She Was reroutes the architecture of experience so effectively that the reader is awarded a new unnamed sense, a soft power, one that reprioritizes our outdated reality with the gathering infrastructure of the geography of language. The whole aggressive world is this book’s only enemy, and no one tricks absurdity into form, reality into abstraction, injustice into stylized verdict, and contemporary popular culture into a useful, heroic trap of surreal-her-wholeness like Carmen Giménez Smith. This book does not have a tour guide, but The City She Was is its own purposeful sniper, three steps ahead of all predictable and crumbling modern rationalism.

Thomas Sayers Ellis, author of Skin, Inc. and The Maverick Room



Carmen Giménez Smith is the author of three collections of poetry—Odalisque in Pieces (University of Arizona Press, 2009), The City She Was (Center for Literary Publishing, 2011), and Goodbye, Flicker (University of Massachusetts Press, 2012)—and a memoir, Bring Down the Little Birds (University of Arizona Press, 2010). She is the recipient of a Juniper Prize for poetry and a fellowship from the Howard Foundation for creative nonfiction. She is the publisher of Noemi Press, the editor-in-chief of Puerto del Sol, and an assistant professor in the MFA program in creative writing at New Mexico State University.

Read an excerpt from The City She Was.