Fourth Person Singular
Claudia Rankine described the poems in Alsadir’s first book as 'lawless,' ‘provocative, and 'heartbreaking' as they 'converse from the inside out… come alive in the back and forth of a mind attempting to understand what it means to be in relation to.’ Fourth Person Singular continues to blow open the relationship between self and world in a working through of lyric shame, bending poetic form through fragment, lyric essay, aphorisms mined from the unconscious, and pop-up associations, to explore the complexities, congruities, disturbances - as well as the beauty - involved in self-representation in language. As unexpected as it is bold, Alsadir's ambitious tour de force demands we pay new attention to the current conversation about the nature of lyric – and human relationships – in the 21st century.
Nuar Alsadir is a poet, writer and psychoanalyst. Her poems and essays have appeared in numerous publications, including 'Granta', 'The New York Times Magazine', 'Slate', 'Grand Street', the 'Kenyon Review', 'tender', 'Poetry London' and 'Poetry Review'; and a collection of her poems, 'More Shadow Than Bird', was published by Salt in 2012. She is on the faculty at New York University, and works as a psychotherapist and psychoanalyst in private practice in New York.
Fourth Person Singular is an exhilarating, scrambling, blankly depressing, grieving, stabbing, and brilliant attempt restoring silence (and thought) to our experience of the world.
Will Harris, The Poetry School
'To read Fourth Person Singular is to fall in love – that’s all I can say to capture the experience of being so scarily and exhilaratingly close to someone else’s thoughts on every vital page. Alsadir’s work is, as ever, full of astute observations and insights driven by a deep intellect, alive to the world and our fears, pressures, dreams and ideas. But there’s something greater here too: a unity of form and content, process and delivery which transfigures the conceptual and the lyric. I don't remember the last time I've read something which is at once so alive and so vigorously smart and ambitious; uniquely self-aware, caustically funny whilst constantly generous and compassionate. The rare joy of a writer finding the exact form for their voice and their mission. Essential reading.'
'Fourth Person Singular is an elegant reckoning with the paradoxical temporality and multiple ontology of first-person writing. In probing the possibility and claims of lyric poetry, as well as its relationship to shame, Alsadir provides a powerful, ambivalent, yet beautiful instance of its ongoing need.'
'Fourth Person Singular is poetry that is neither verse nor exactly prose poetry, but aphorism, perception, quotation, annotation, a squeezing between the gaps in the windows and doorways of experience seeking for air. It is more than its pieces: it is a whole that is a form of understanding. It is that whole that is the complex and revelatory poem.'
Publication: April 11, 2017
Series: Pavilion Poetry