Grains of the Voice

Trade Paper – $16.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-5228-1
Publication Date
April 2013
Page Count
96 pages
Trim Size
6.125 x 8.25

Grains of the Voice


Christina Pugh’s Grains of the Voice exhibits a pervasive fascination with sound in all its manifestations. The hu­man voice, musical instruments, the sounds produced by the natural and man-made worlds—all serve at one time or another as both the framework of poems and the occa­sion for their lightning-quick changes of direction, of tone, of point of reference. The poems are eclectic in their al­lusiveness, filled with echoes—and sometimes the words themselves—of other poets, but just as often of songs both popular and obscure, of the noise of pop culture, and of philosophers’ writings. But Pugh always wears her learn­ing lightly. Beneath the jewellike surfaces of her poems is a strenuous investigation of the nature of and need for communication and a celebration of the endless variety of its forms. 

About the Author

Christina Pugh’s previous collections of poetry are Restoration (Northwestern University Press, 2008) and Rotary (Word Press, 2004; winner of the Word Press First Book Prize).  Her recent honors include a 2015 Guggenheim fellowship in poetry and a Bogliasco Foundation fellowship in 2016.  She is Professor of English at the University of Illinois at Chicago and consulting editor for Poetry magazine.


“No poet of her generation can match Christina Pugh’s sheer lyricism. I mean not only her gift for writing precise and beautiful lines and sentences—though the poems in Grains of the Voice are so fine that you could use them to cut glass—but also Pugh’s passionate intelligence, her ability to carve shapes from language that promise to endure, even as they remain open to the unknown and the incomplete, revealing that vulnerability from which song derives in the first place.”—Peter Campion, author of The Lions

“Christina Pugh is a master of voice, its shades and swayings, and a superb shaper of sound and argument. In Grains of the Voice she shows herself a world-making poet, and presides over her creation with a fine, pressing energy.”—David Mikics, coauthor of The Art of the Sonnet (with Stephen Burt)