In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps

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Pub Date 01 Apr 2019 | Archive Date 01 Apr 2019
University of Iowa Press, University Of Iowa Press

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Description

With calm abandon, Rob Schlegel stands among the genderless trees to shake notions of masculinity and fatherhood. Schlegel incorporates the visionary into everyday life, inhabiting patterns of relation that do not rely on easy categories. Working from the premise that poetry is indistinguishable from the life of the poet, Schlegel considers how his relationship to the creative process is forever changed when he becomes something new to someone else. “The meaning I’m trying to protect is,” Schlegel writes, “the heart is neither boy, nor girl.” In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps is a tender search for the mother in the father, the poet in the parent, the forest in the human.

With calm abandon, Rob Schlegel stands among the genderless trees to shake notions of masculinity and fatherhood. Schlegel incorporates the visionary into everyday life, inhabiting patterns of...


Advance Praise

“Rob Schlegel’s In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps is dominated by three of the most remarkable long poems I’ve read in years, but it is especially ‘Novella’ that has grabbed me and won’t let me go. Schlegel writes with the easy lyric mastery he has demonstrated in each of his previous books. In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps quietly elicits a great clamor of feeling.”—Shane McCrae, author and National Book Award finalist, In the Language of My Captor

“Precise and nuanced, this lyric journey is at once fable, field guide, confession, and thrilling meditative adventure. I know of no poet quite so gifted as Rob Schlegel at chronicling the way ‘impulse turns over [the] mind.’”—Mary Szybist, author and National Book Award winner, Incarnadine

“Rob Schlegel has a voice you’d follow into the dark woods, knowing full well it’s hard, awful, daily, plain, living truth you’re running toward. The speaker in this book is a heartbreaker of a storyteller—a synesthesiac of mixed feelings, bad news, and wordsmithery. I feel known, caught out, believed in, vulnerable, when I read this book.”—Brenda Shaughnessy, judge, Iowa Poetry Prize

“Rob Schlegel’s In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps is dominated by three of the most remarkable long poems I’ve read in years, but it is especially ‘Novella’ that has grabbed me and won’t let me...


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Featured Reviews

A different kind of freedom is throwing rocks into the lake and knowing the lake’s response. In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps by Rob Schlegel is the 2018 Iowa Poetry Prize Winner. Schlegel is the author of The Lesser Fields and January Machine. He lives and teaches in Washington state. In the Tree Where the Double Sex Sleeps is a father's look at the world and his place as a complete parent. Leaves make many appearances through the collection as trees are genderless as a whole, but contain both sexes to produce fertilized seed. In nature, the role of gender is different. Humans have created patterns into which everyone needs to fit. There is a freedom in nature: Near the fountain, a few deer, rich with insides different from mine, but the same, incorporated as I am, though wired to nothing The long poem "Novella" dominates this collection with a childhood view of life and parents. The role of natural elements leaves an eerie, dreamlike remembrance of bees, owls, and a terrible prophecy. The word use and lyrical quality of the writing create a haunting but compelling feeling: The meaning I’m trying to protect is the heart is neither boy, nor girl. I close my hand around the stem and pull. The third section of the collection the poet becomes the parent himself. He is the father who wishes to be the mother to his children. The long poem "Threat Perception" is his adult version of "Novella" looking at his own children -- a son and daughter. There are not bees and owls but serpents and spiders. The shift from industry and wisdom to evil and fear as the poet's view changes from child to father. The collection closes on that note with a reflection once again on trees. A thought-provoking, lyrical, and image-rich collection of poetry in line with the tradition of the Iowa Poetry Prize.

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«the poem 's void under the shadow of swords.» I love this idea of playing with words and natural elements. In this set of poems, we see an intricate absorption of some animal rituals and sounds mixed with the ambiguity of a complex identity. Memories reverberate insomuch the author kind of weaves a strange reality surpassing the constraints of prose. Collapsing in fragments and trapped in spider webs even questioning «does the internet make me depressed». For sure, it does, we get lethargic, roaming inside out. Only poetry can gather us together. *thanks to Netgalley* #InTheTreeWhereTheDoubleSexSleeps #NetGalley

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