THE BOOK: A Case for the Dead Letter Detective
PUBLISHED IN: 2021
AUTHOR: Lori Brack
PUBLISHER: Kelsay Press
SUMMARY: A Case for the Dead Letter Detective is a chapbook of 24 poems regarding the life and work of a detective who works for the Dead Letter branch of the post office. Of course, dead letters are a metaphor for what is lost, what is written and not read, what is secret.
BACK STORY: The dead letter detective showed up in my writing about 12 years ago as I was studying writing as an age 50-something grad student. He appeared again and again as the subject of many poems written over about a decade. As I put the book together, I recognized that he is simultaneously an imaginary and real character, both a dead and a living character, both me and other.
WHY SOMEONE WOULD WANT TO READ IT: If you are interested in letters and mail, in lyric poems, in prose poems, in Jung's theory of the anima/animus, in a brief break from your daily reality, this might be a book you will enjoy. One reader said, "There is a complicated, solitary life depicted in this book, and its readers will likely be drawn back again and again because it haunts them, they miss it, and I think they will find each rereading even richer and more revelatory than the last."
"In her gorgeous metaphor of the Dead Letter Detective, whose job is to show us the hole in the side of your life that spits out things you didn't know were there, Lori Brack invites us to recover what we thought forever lost and to see what we've always overlooked. The detective is summoned to divine the address, she writes, and divine Brack does in these delicate, magical-realist-tinged, and mysterious poems that are simultaneously as clear as a creek over purifying stones. Brack envisions a world bursting with urgent messages we haven't yet learned how to find." -- Bruce Beasley, author of Theophobia, All Soul Parts Returned, and other books
"Dear Reader, Brack's postage-stamp pieces of prose rupture reality, separating it like fingertips carefully tearing apart an old lick-and-stick sheet of stamps along the perforation lines. In the newly opened spaces in between the tidily torn edges, one's imagination can dance and breathe a bit of fresh air." -- Lea Redmond, proprietor of The World's Smallest Post Service and author of Letters to My Future Self, Knit the Sky, and other books
"How much, wonders Lori Brack's dead letter detective, can go amiss with twenty-six letters and ten digits? In her new book, A Case for the Dead Letter Detective, Brack's magical language weaves a world in which utterance exists at the knife-edge of loss. With its kinetic, sometimes absurdist language and improbably wonderful throughline, The Case is a brilliant found letter, a tour de force." -- Susanne Paola Antonetta, author of The Terrible Unlikelihood of Our Being Here, and other books
AUTHOR PROFILE: Lori Brack is also the author of Museum Made of Breath, published in 2018 by Spartan Press, Kansas City. The chapbook A Fine Place to See the Sky was written as a poetic script for a work of performance art by Ernesto Pujol and published by The Field School in 2010. It is a collaboration with her grandfather's 1907-1918 Kansas farming journal. Her essays and poems have appeared in journals and anthologies, many available online, including Rooted: The Best New Arboreal Nonfiction, Another Chicago Magazine, North American Review, The Fourth River, Entropy Magazine, Superstition Review and its blog, and Mid-American Review. She has worked in art centers, libraries, colleges, and is now engaged in independent artist, community building, and education projects.
The Dead Letter Detective as a Boy
Each childhood discovers and then conceals. May morning, all the other boys running over grass and he, hands cupped to the glass, peers through the mausoleum grate. Sunlight through high windows filters the leafy floor. Someone's plastic roses dulled by dust. A still wasp, half wrapped in cobweb. Veined marble and ranks of bronze with names he strains to read. He rattles the big handles in his childish hands that cannot undo these doors.
LOCAL OUTLET: Ad Astra Books and Coffee House, Salina, KS
Where else to buy it: https://kelsaybooks.com/products/a-case-for-the-dead-letter-detective
PRICE: $16 + tax
CONTACT THE AUTHOR: www.loribrack.com