A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us is an elegant chronicle of grief, of the sprawling bonds between brothers and sisters, of bodies in this world, of the power of language when so artfully arranged.
Caleb Curtiss is a poet among poets and in this beautiful and assured collection, he makes himself heard and how.
Winner of the Black Lawrence Press Black River Chapbook Contest
A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us is available online through Black Lawrence Press as well as the following vendors: Small Press Distribution Books, Barnes & Noble, & httpcolinbackslashbackslashwwwdotamazondotcom.
In Caleb Curtiss’ A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us, the poems are stalked by sisterly ghosts, and the persona, via a series of beautifully pathetic trials and errors, emerges not only with a treasure map to a beating heart, but also the blueprints with which we can both construct, and navigate, the dreamiest of our grief. We can be classified, Curtiss tells us, if only because we 'still exist somewhere.' If Linnaeus had the imaginative alchemy necessary to string earthly biology to the chimerical afterlife, Systema Naturae would have read more like Curtiss’ revelatory, faithful, and 'very strange ontology.'
This brilliant new taxonomy serves as an exhilarating reminder that the things most capable of haunting us, are the most haunted things themselves.
—Matthew Gavin Frank
Caleb Curtiss’ A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us speaks to us from the 'present tense of … absence,' an unyielding landscape in which these radiant poems are a ceaseless controlled burn. Their narrative inquiry—'Like the sea in a storm, I did not know / how I was like a storm'— has been primed in a liminal field between grief and selfless intellect.
Here is the lyric and evocative testimony of a powerful consciousness at the beginning of a remarkable career.
Author of Because I Am the Shore I Want to be the Sea & The View from the Body
For many of us, death is, as Caleb Curtiss writes, ‘The kind of thing / I could never look at.’ But the best elegies also operate as memento moris—they recall other people who have died and remind us all that we will, too.
Formally adventurous and sharp in its honesty, A Taxonomy of the Space Between Us helps us look at — and really see — these ultimate absences.
In his gorgeous and heartfelt elegies, Curtiss offers not just expressions of grief, but also celebrations of what lives on after the lingering loss of a loved one, a person kept beautiful and lasting by these acts of memory, fine poems as indwellings, each as powerfully shaped and permanent as any monument might hope to be.
Curtiss paints one devastating moment from every possible angle, allowing everything surrounding the event to call out the shadows and light, laying plain curiosity and vulnerability.
The gorgeous language forms false equations approximating the ineffable.