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Reading: Andrew Wessels, A Turkish Dictionary

  • Deep Vellum Book 3000 Commerce Street Dallas, TX, 75226 United States (map)

About the Book

"The purpose / of this book," writes Andrew Wessels in his graceful and moving debut collection, "is to explain / the vagaries of a poet." Fashioning an arabesque from apologia, A Turkish Dictionary may be read as a work of translation theory, a historical travel guide to where East merges with West, a philosophical investigation, a love letter "from A to Z," and an indefinite lexicon wherein "the cloud of word is cloud." The bewildered literary cosmopolitan who speaks through these poems finds forms of dwelling where others would see only transition–"halfway down / the broken / staircase wandered / through"–and, in the process, Wessels acknowledges the longing at the heart of all belonging. In the end, A Turkish Dictionary renews our sense of the inexhaustible possibilities within all language, or, as the poet himself writes, "the prayer itself a call to prayer."

About the Poet

Andrew Wessels currently splits his time between Istanbul and Los Angeles. He has held fellowships from Poets & Writers and the Black Mountain Institute. Semi Circle, a chapbook of his translations of the Turkish poet Nurduran Duman, was published by Goodmorning Menagerie in 2016. His poems and translations can be found in VOLTWitnessAsymptoteTammy JournalFaultline, and Colorado Review, among others. His first book, published by 1913 Press, is A Turkish Dictionary.