Reviews

Proprietary (Persea, 2017) by Randall Mann (forthcoming)

Magdalene (W.W. Norton, 2017) by Marie Howe (forthcoming)

The Trembling Answers (BOA Editions, 2017) by Craig Morgan Teicher (forthcoming)

The Somnambulist (Horseless Press, 2016) by Lara Mimosa Montes

Night Sky with Exit Wounds (Copper Canyon, 2016) by Ocean Vuong

The Cumulus Effect (Four Way Books, 2015) by J. Mae Barizo 

The God of Longing (Sibling Rivalry Press, 2014) by Brent Calderwood

The Earth Avails (Graywolf Press, 2014) by Mark Wunderlich 

 

 

INTERVIEWS

"The Light Changes in Every Moment: A Conversation with Carl Phillips" in The Journal

Contributor Spotlight Interview in Sequestrum

 

 

AWARDS 

2017 Helen Earnhart Harley Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry

2017 American Literary Review Poetry Award, Runner-Up, Judge: Melissa Kwasny

2016 Vandewater Prize for Poetry

2015 HEH Creative Writing Fellowship in Poetry

2013 Red Hen Press Poetry Award, Honorable Mention, Judge: Hilda Raz

 

praise

"[O'Brien's] poems contain fresh and musical language, unpredictable turns, lively images, a deft touch with forms, strong endings, and profound and compelling emotions.  The poems are fully embodied, bringing us into a family full of trauma and loss.  The speaker says, "I wish I could forget that/my sister is dead" and then later realizes that "Freedom was quitting trying to forget."  When the speaker drives off with old furs from a grandmother "who has not adorned herself with corpses for some time," he asserts that he's "the only one still willing/to wrap death around me like a coat."  These vibrant poems ask big questions, like how we cope with grief, how we live in relationship with one another, how we define beauty, particularly in relation to our own bodies." -Peggy Shumaker, author of Just Breathe Normally, former Poet Laureate of Alaska

 

"[O'Brien's] poems contain a compelling mix of formal variation and emotional displacement. Embedded within the loves and sorrows of a single speaker seem often the loves and sorrows of another or "we." Or maybe at the heart of each is restlessness. The assumed stability of couplets or tercets, for instance, is strangely undone with relentless ongoingness, captured best in such poems as 'Still Arriving." - Yona Harvey, author of Hemming the Water, winner of the Kate Tufts Discovery Award

 

"The poems of 'Still Arriving' are incredibly sharp and dense and precise, full of particular places and people; and, somehow, the poet makes palpable space for our own wondering of where and who we are. These poems are still with me now." - Erica Dawson, author of Big-Eyed Afraid and The Small Blades Hurt