Finalist for the 2010 Pulitzer Prize in Poetry, cited as "a collection of poems remarkable for its variety of subjects, array of genres and nimble use of language."
In her poem "Love Letters," Angie Estes writes, "I cover secrets, break me and read." And indeed, throughout Tryst, Estes' fourth and most personal collection, the poet gets straight to the heart of love, language, and memory. Details from the rural Appalachian lives of Estes' own family yield to meditations on '40s film stars, medieval saints, ancient Romans--and vice-versa. We learn that gold leaf is applied with a brush fashioned out of squirrel tail, Nijinsky invented a fountain pen he called God, and female prisoners of the concentration camp at Terezin composed recipes to be tasted only in memory: all part of the human passion to create, destroy, and above all, be known.
Estes' tryst here is with history and the way it absorbs everything and everyone, leaving words, those most articulate of witnesses, behind. Like the Roman Forum with its dizzying strata of time exposed, Tryst is layered, sad, magnificent, and made memorable in and because of language. Break. Read.
"Whenever I see a poem by Angie Estes I prepare myself for serious delight. Who else can move so effortlessly from an Appalachian cornfield to a medieval fresco and back again by way of Rita Hayworth and a couple of bilingual puns? Her timing and her ever-uninhibited instinct for poetic shape are the triumphs of a first-rate musical intelligence. Angie Estes is Fred Astaire and Ginger too: backwards in high heels, forward on rollerskates, never have classy and sexy been better matched."