You can also order a copy at through your local, independent bookstore. If you would like to request it through your library’s inter-library loan, click here for the OCLC catalog.
What Comes from a Thing is the first collection of poetry from Phillip Barron. It won the 2015 Michael Rubin Book Award from Fourteen Hills Press.
This volume takes as its subjects presence and absence after the death of manufacturing and the disintegration of the working class under twenty-first century capitalism. These poems embody the sounds and rhythms of factories, industrial farmlands, and ports of late modernity. Whether rural or urban, the places—like the aesthetics—of these poems have survived the shift to a post-industrial economy and merit deep attention for the role they play in constructing the materiality and ideal of our daily experiences. The book resides in this very tension between idealism and materialism, where “we manufacture footnotes now, echoes of all else/that we have forgotten/how to make.”
On What Comes from a Thing
Phillip Barron’s What Comes from a Thing renders the familiar strange again, and so offers us the rare opportunity to re-encounter what we think we know. A mapping and re-mapping of our concurrent worlds, these poems explore the shifting overlays of industrial landscape, post-industrial landscape, the “natural” world, and all the worlds that exist among them: location is never where we left it. Barron stitches through time a tracery of telephone poles, contrails, water, and railroads, bodies of granaries and birds, factories and fields, as he probes received ideas of identity and relation. What Comes from a Thing investigates what it can mean to be alive to our 21st century existence, bathing in the mortar/ reeds and ruin. —Laura Walker, author of Follow-Haswed – http://laura-walker.com
What Comes from a Thing is both an asking and a telling. Phillip Barron’s poems give voice to objects lost, discarded, fallen into the liminal zone between society and nature. With cool cadences, at once melancholy and analytical, the poet rings the fate of human artefacts as they return to the beauty and mystery of their primary uselessness. In the twilight of industrial civilization, Barron’s poems remind us of all “that we have forgotten how to make.”—Andrew Joron, author of Trance Archive – http://www.poetryfoundation.org/bio/andrew-joron
Phillip Barron’s book is a precisionist sounding of chosen scenes, realist in diction, ecological in sensibility—including a human ecology, and intent on tracking the process, the provenances, and the particulars that made us arrive just here. The work inventories these chosen sightlines with a kind of stoicism: “what we have done is what we will become.” The authorial voice is at one and the same time the object of history, objective about history, and the subject of history within his own austere findings. These poems are about more than a de-industrialized landscape or the borders between wood and farms, they are materialist statements. —Rachel Blau DuPlessis, author of Drafts – http://rachelblauduplessis.com/about/
Since its inception in 1994, Fourteen Hills has held an impressive reputation among international literary magazines for publishing the highest-quality innovative poetry, fiction, short plays, and literary nonfiction. The semiannual journal is committed to presenting a great diversity of experimental and progressive work by emerging and cross-genre writers, as well as by award-winning and established authors.
Part of the vibrant literary heritage of the west coast and the San Francisco Bay area, Fourteen Hills is honored to be an active participant in the contemporary creative community. As a nonprofit press, its staff, editors, and contributors bring readers of the journal some of the most exciting offerings of independent literature. From the postmodern to the traditional, Fourteen Hills is a testimony to the fact that independent, innovative and experimental literature is alive and thriving.
The Michael Rubin Book Award is held once a year and alternates between fiction and poetry. The winning manuscript is chosen by a different guest judge, independent of the University, each year. The winning manuscript is published by Fourteen Hills Press in a limited one-run printing. Laura Walker judged the 2015 contest.