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Runner-Up in the National Poetry Review Book Prize

The Wanted

by Michael Tyrell

 

 

 

 

"The Wanted, Michael Tyrell’s sharp-eyed, intellectually inventive, playful, and darkly humorous first book, is filled with so many wonderful and surprising ways of looking at familiar things that it answers Stevens’ dilemma about which to prefer—'The beauty of inflections/ Or the beauty of innuendoes'—by preferring them both. Tyrell expresses this preference by way of a patient and scrupulous self-scrutiny, the kind he observes in Egon Schiele’s representation of trees in which the painter 'looked at himself, tore out the human, cleaved/ it into branches.' So, too, Tyrell looks at himself and cleaves the essential human matter of his perceptions onto the provocative and often sinuous lines of his verse."
—Michael Collier

"Like the haunted, disconnected heads on a wanted poster, Michael Tyrell’s daring and fiercely intelligent poems signify nothing less than the mystery of existence, the relationship between how one is perceived to what one really is, if such a thing were possible to express. To read these remarkable poems is to enter the shadow world of the wanted, where every surface is vulnerable to a violence, real or implied, that will crack it open to reveal a secret code. A book of masks where the disguised often forgets it wears the mask and the mask forgets it is not the face, The Wanted invites us to 'enter the wet bladed edges/ which break us again into separate beings, / pour salt into wherever we bleed.' Enter with caution and be prepared to lose yourself."
—Henry Israeli


"In Michael Tyrell’s The Wanted, the images, techniques, and preoccupations of film noir permeate many of the poems. There are references to crime scenes, acts of real and imagined violence, missing children, lie detectors, forgeries, guns, exit wounds, and much more. In 'The Supporting Character,' the poet writes, 'The narration’s unreliable./...I’m a subplot about to unfold.' All of this for good reason since Tyrell’s subject is essentially the unfathomability of identity and selfhood—a mystery to be slowly puzzled at, unraveled, exposed. Ultimately, the poet’s evasions are the evasions and uncertainties we experience in our everyday lives, both with ourselves and with other people. The Wanted is a strange, disquieting book that serious readers will keep returning to as they plumb the many levels of these resonant, mysterious poems.
Elizabeth Spires

 

Michael Tyrell resides in Brooklyn, where he was born. His writing has appeared in Agni, The New Republic, The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, The Yale Review, and many other magazines. With Julia Spicher Kasdorf, he edited the anthology Broken Land: Poems of Brooklyn (NYU Press, 2007). He teaches at New York University.