I Want to Make You SafeI WANT TO MAKE YOU SAFE

Amy King

November 2011 • 87 pp. • $15.00 • ISBN: 978-1-933959-23-8
Cover art by Deborah Grant

• Barry Schwabsky for Jacket2 reviews. November 10, 2012. 
Maureen Alsop for Poemeleon review. September 22, 2012.
• American Poet 
feature. Summer 2012, Issue 42.
• Lissa Kiernan for The Rooster Moans review. June 30, 2012.
• j/j hastain for The Lit Pub review. May 18, 2012.
• Michael Flatt for the Center for Literary Publishing review. May 9, 2012.
• Lightsey Darst for Bookslut reviewMay 2012.
• Carol Dorf for The Mom Egg review. April 27, 2012.
• The Poetry Foundation feature. April 10, 2012.
• Alan Gilbert for The Poetry Foundation review. April 9, 2012.
• Bomblog: Phone in reading. March 28, 2012.
• Friends read Friends for HTML Giant. March 26, 2012.
• Sara Jane Stoner for Poetry Project Newsletter. April/May 2012.
• Lambda Literary review. March 6, 2012.
• Metta Sáma reviews for Her Circle. March 1, 2012.
• Creepy Valentine on Poets & Writers. February 14, 2012
• John Pluecker for HTML Giant review. February 2012
• Sara Jane Stoner and Julia Heim read. February 2012
• VerseDaily features “The Identity in My Crisis“. February 2012.
• PoetryDaily features “The White of Sacre Couer Against a Blue
Parisian Sky
“. February 2012.
• Christopher Higgs for HTML Giant January 27, 2012.
• Michelle Gillett for The Rumpus review. January 14, 2012.
• Poets & Writers video. January 3, 2012.
• Coldfront’s list of Top 30 Poetry Books of 2011, with review by John Deming. January 1, 2012.
• Boston Globe: among the best poetry books of 2011.
• review. December 2011.
• The French Exit blog review. November 22, 2011.
• Small Press Distribution Poetry Best-Seller. Nov – Dec 2011.


“Rarely have the nude and the cooked been so neatly joined” as in Amy King’s I Want to Make You Safe. If “us,” “herons,” and “dust” rhyme,  then these poems rhyme. If that makes you feel safe, it shouldn’t. Amy King’s poems are exuberant, strange, and a bit grotesque. They’re spring-loaded and ready for trouble. Categories collapse. These are the new “thunderstorms with Barbie roots.”

— Rae Armantrout

Vulnerability, fragility, and anxiety are all flushed out into the open here and addressed with such strong sound and rhythm that we recognize a resilient, defiant strength within them. King puts relentless pressure on forces seemingly beyond our reach and, in bringing them closer, exposes their own vulnerable centers. This is a poetry equally committed to language as a tool with social obligations and language as an art material obligated to reveal its own beauty. King’s language does both magnificently.

— Cole Swensen

Amy King’s poems seem to encompass all that we think of as the “natural” world, i.e. sex, sun, love, rotting, hatching, dreaming, especially in the wonderful long poem “This Opera of Peace.” She brings these abstractions to brilliant, jagged life, emerging into rather than out of the busyness of living: “Let the walls bear up the angle of the floor,/Let the mice be tragic for all that is caged,/Let time’s contagion mar us/until spoken people lie as particles of wind.

— John Ashbery

I love Amy King’s smile in photos of Amy King, Amy King’s exuberance and looping, bashing panache (flamboyant manner, reckless courage) in the poems of Amy King, I’m going to say Amy King every chance I get in this blurb to make you think “I gotta read me some Amy King,” especially if you’re “looking for anything/that will pull the cork, boil the blood/of displeasure,” as only the poems of Amy King can in the world in which Amy King is King (and Queen).

— Bob Hicok

The first poem I read by Amy King was “MEN BY THE LIPS OF WOMEN” and it struck me with a force I had previously felt on encountering masterworks by Lorca and Dylan Thomas.  I won’t live long enough to see if her poetry will continue to equal the magnificence of theirs, but the fact that she achieved it once (at least) proves to me it could.

— Bill Knott

These poems are meditative, subtle and deeply human, but beneath their cool, often gorgeous surfaces are darker currents, “holes firing lyrics, free range.” Amy King “pimps the abyss,” and she’s not joking. Better kiss your “trucker state” goodbye.

—Linh Dinh

I’m portable. My mind travels / the verse and valleys of whole people says the poet. Correct! Readers of this book will discover their own memories. They will melt in them, amazed, lullabied, dramatized, shocked that they exist. Amy King is a true bard.
— Tomaž Šalamun

Smoke n’ hott, these poems emerge as … audible diamonds that cut, where Rock is King & candor disarms paranoia, or, in King’s case, downright dismembers it: Forgive me, I am the final/ seminary soul to check your shape/ in the dress of that embalming line. Passengered adeptly under the influence of Lorca, Neruda maybe, (Buried by midnight/ I am a warm/ fly in amber.) the reader wants to shout, GO DUENDE!!!

—Jeni Olin

Amy King’s mercurial poems capture the instability of cultural, sexual, and poetic identity. In the circuitry of her illuminated, incongruous, but somehow perfectly apt details, “the alien befits us.” With a nod to Gertrude Stein and Fernando Pessoa, as well as cameos by Frida Kahlo, Maya Deren, and Claude Cahun, Amy celebrates “the roles” of women even as she redefines them, telling us: “I put on my long black dream/to live among my female brothers.” Playful, provocative, and frenetically lyrical, this is metamorphic poetry for our times.
—Elaine Equi

Amy King’s poetry is carried by a vital and ineluctable complexity, yoking near-Elizabethan conceit to the roughest necessities with disarming sweetness. John Ashbery and Chidiock Tichborne could not have teamed up to do it better.

—Annie Finch

“We are not / a great many things, while in fact we are the functions / of those things, and without them, / we are less and more than ever.” You see, there’s an underbelly that needs to be got to, and I’M THE MAN WHO LOVES YOU is all about it. Each detail in an Amy King poem seems a world in itself. & it’s not like you’ve never seen details like these. & it’s not like you have either.

—Rod Smith


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