The Water Draft

Alexandria Peary


ISBN 978-1-949966-28-2      94 pages        $15.00


In this inventive and original work, words and their things are brought into dramatic tension, as if facing in a mirror: “a cleaned rabbit, scullery basket of potatoes, / a clan of obese clouds.” Nearby, there’s also “a black melon on a plate.” As in nature mort, the everyday becomes sublime in color and relation, but this is not a quiet, painterly book.  It is active and intermittent, and nothing passes its watch. Throughout the work, writing and perception are co-equal, as in “The Eyeglasses” of William Carlos Williams, where there is a “favorable distortion of / eyeglasses” as they lie on the poet’s desk, “tranquilly Titicaca.” All writing is perhaps a “water draft,” delightful because provisional: “words circular words circular / water about written words, sound pastel / water about water.” On occasion, Peary comments through a fourth wall window to address the reader, and poetry itself is one of the guests at table, “all geometry and glass.”

       Paul Hoover,

author of Desolation, Souvenir, editor of Postmodern American Poetry


Alexandria Peary, writing in the unsentimental tradition of Bishop and Moore, transports their delectable particularity into our distractible age. Any collection of objects, as Peary knows, makes a still life, whatever the forces that propelled them together: every material fact, be it a word or a movie star or a desk, has the potential to fascinate, when it falls into a receptive line of vision. The Water Draft has an idea of order, but Peary is always pushing past it and into her very own territory, where the unexpected can occur, and does, with satisfying regularity. Peary writes singular poems with “a ballpoint pen / found in a ruined villa.”

      Donna Stonecipher, author of Model City


What an exquisitely witty and ingenious book. Alexandria Peary’s The Water Draft plucks experimentalism out of the dull classrooms of postmodern theory and takes it joyriding through madhouse America. Half surrealist romp, half anti-art, half taxonomy of our bizarro nation, these poems are wholly a love song to irreverence. I have no idea what’s coming from one line to the next, sometimes from one word to the next, and I am left in wonder at Peary’s formal daring, her singular sense of humor, and her uncanny powers of poetic observation.

      Jaswinder Bolina, author The 44th of July


In this brilliant collection of poems, Alexandria Peary reveals the many readers that we are, following labyrinthine lines through magical—sometimes scary—sculpture gardens made of words. It’s a world haunted by the weird, playful modernism of Moore and Stevens, updated with an obsessive, twenty-first-century impulse to include everything mundane and profane, from the Tasmanian Devil to deviled eggs, depicted in dazzlingly microscopic detail. It’s a world supercharged by an alchemical meta-poetics, making the physical and textual morph into each other so fluidly, it feels like we’re reading a page that’s actually water mirroring back at us. With extraordinary skill and vision, with a remarkable ear for the music of everyday tensions,    Alexandria Peary shows us what we really look like.

      Steve Healey, author of Safe Houses I Have Known

"I am pleased to nominate Alexandria for the role of Poet Laureate," said Governor Chris Sununu. "As the author of six books and countless other works, I am confident Alexandria will do a great job as Poet Laureate of New Hampshire."

Alexandria Peary is the author of five previous books: Control Bird Alt Delete, Lid to the Shadow, Fall Foliage Called Bathers & Dancers, Creative Writing Pedagogy for the Twenty-First Century (with Tom C. Hunley), and Prolific Moment: Theory and Practice of Mindfulness for Writing. Her work has received the Iowa Poetry Prize, the Slope Editions Book Prize, and the Joseph Langland Award from the Academy of American Poets. Her poems have been featured at Poetry Daily and Verse Daily and are listed at the Poetry Foundation: Alexandria’s theory of mindful writing is the subject of the blog, Her degrees include a MFA from the University of Iowa, a MFA from the University of Massachusetts, Amherst, and a PhD from the University of New Hampshire. She is a professor in the English Department at Salem State University where for eight years she administered the First-Year Writing Program and where she now teaches undergraduate and graduate courses in poetry, nonfiction, fiction, creative writing pedagogy, and mindful writing.