Praise for To the Bramble and the Briar

“Even the chairs of To the Bramble and the Briar are enchantments: the two Hepplewhites broken during a fantastic brawl between Abraham Lincoln and Fredrick Douglass, the Windsor chair ‘upon which the president sat to think,’ the chair lowered into a well wherein he ‘passed a pleasant afternoon reading.’ The real enchantment here is, of course, Lincoln animated by war, robots, asteroids, shark attacks, and all else Steve Scafidi conjures in these irreverent new poems. To the Bramble and the Briar is a sublime, inimitable achievement.”

—Terrance Hayes, author of Lighthead: Poems

“This sequence of poems with the mystery and dignity of Abraham Lincoln at its core blends history, myth and improvisation to explore our national imagination with a boldness usually restricted to dreams. Steve Scafidi has chosen ‘to follow the wild gold of [his] thoughts,’ and we are the richer for his risk taking. Though this is a dark book, its beauty brightens the spirit. No American poet today is writing more exciting, unsettling and consequential poems, and To the Bramble and the Briar expands our expectations of how art might refresh and enhance our lives.”

—R. T. Smith, author of Outlaw Style: Poems

“Scafidi gives us here what we thought impossible: a Mozartian performance, drops of piercing light, on some of the heaviest, most earth-laden moments in the history of this country. To the Bramble and the Briar is work of a master poet, a rare, beautiful book.”

—lya Kaminsky, author of Dancing in Odessa