Guide to the Exhibit by Lisa Allen Ortiz


Guide to the Exhibit is the winner of the 2016 Perugia Press Prize. Inspired by displays at a small natural history museum, the poems in Lisa Allen Ortiz’s collection, Guide to the Exhibit, are about what we set aside to examine and remember. The quirky, scientific lens–grimy, focused, funny, always illuminating–animates the odd and overlooked. With humility and curiosity, Ortiz is moved to learn how to see more clearly both as lover and as griever. Speaking the names of things–animals, skeletons, teeth, feathers–is a way of connecting with the complications of being alive. How does the stillness of an exhibit encourage us toward love and joy? Does studying details increase the pleasure of felt experience? Ortiz is paying close attention to love while death and sorrow lurk nearby. “Survival is the mutest joy,” she writes. Guide to the Exhibit looks outward and reflects, examines, links, and contradicts.


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Black decorated paperback covers with like spine. Edge wear and corner bumps. Clean, tight pages and binding. Published by Perugia Press in 2016. Fiction / Poetry. Measures 9 x 6 inches with 78 pages. VG


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