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how do i net thee / Shira Dentz

how do i net thee

By: Shira Dentz

A finalist for the National Poetry Series and APR’s Honickman Award, how do I net thee is a diagram of a voice drawn through lyric, visual, and prose poems threading schisms—within a family, within a society brutalized by racial tensions, and within the space crossed in the transition from fertility to its loss. "how do i net thee asks Shira Dentz in her brilliant new book. Cast across the turb...
ISBN 978-1-910669-72-3
Pub Date Tuesday, February 27, 2018
Cover Image Pepper Luboff
Page Count 86
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A finalist for the National Poetry Series and APR’s Honickman Award, how do I net thee is a diagram of a voice drawn through lyric, visual, and prose poems threading schisms—within a family, within a society brutalized by racial tensions, and within the space crossed in the transition from fertility to its loss.

"how do i net thee asks Shira Dentz in her brilliant new book. Cast across the turbulent sea of language, these poems bring back to us a medley of phrases, voices that capture an ecstatic, coruscating world of trauma, loss & retrieval. Here is 'the Book of Anger in the shape of a dog'; a vagina with 'three white waterfalls'; 'the heel of an echo' that soars 'on falcon wings.' Following in the footsteps of her great precursors, Virginia Woolf, Gertrude Stein, Adrienne Rich, Dentz’s luminous poems reveal to us 'a woman’s secret language' from 'a mouth inside herself.' Read them!"

L.S. Asekoff

"Language whips around wildly but wisely in Shira Dentz’s latest collection. Seamlessly blending the vernacular with the erudite, she echoes her dynamic phrasings with dynamic typography, and yet what accrues, above all, throughout the book is a sense of her profound engagement with the world. The book is aloft by principle, and alive with it."

Cole Swenson

Shira Dentz

Shira Dentz is the author of Leaf Weather (Tilt Press, 2009; re-printed by Shearsman, 2011), black seeds on a white dish (Shearsman, 2011), door of thin skins (CavanKerry Press, 2013), FLOUNDERS (Essay Press, 2016), and the sun a blazing zero (forthcoming from Lavender Ink). She is the recipient of awards including an Academy of American Poets’ Prize, The Poetry Society of America’s Lyric Poem and Cecil Hemley Memorial Awards, Electronic Poetry Review’s Discovery Award, and Painted Bride Quarterly’s Poetry Prize. She is the Special Features Editor at Tarpaulin Sky, and lives in upstate New York where she teaches creative writing at RPI. More about her writing can be found at

“It asks “in the dark are there kind letters and if so which are they” (58). It delights with intellectual twisty-turns, yes, and strange methodologies, but it does so with an ethical, human anchor and purpose, with a beating heart, and in doing so, it turns me into something more than a passive subject. It take catch capture gathers me up and actually moves me, which is what I would ultimately say to describe how do i net thee: it moves me smartly, it transports me, intercepts, arrests, apprehends, gains possession of me, entangles, affects violently, seizes, snatches, grasps, lays hold of, grips, snags, hooks, it captivates. And good.” Read the entire review by Kathryn Cowles in YES POETRY here


"how do I net thee is illuminating and at every turn exponential in aspect. The book answers the very question it poses in the title with the only answer befitting the works inside, by answering in as many ways that are possible and by never positing the answer. how do i net thee is a work of monumental significance, an important articulation of the untranslatable. It is measurable by all that it is not, in that it should be measured by the lineage of collections that came before and as a standard of measure for collections that will come forever after.”
Read the entire review by Ralph Pennel in THE IOWA REVIEW here


“Shira Dentz’s how do I net thee reveals language as a grid. Its verdant poems effortlessly sprawl out across the page as they yearn to capture and document loss, memory, and grief in the face of uncertainty… She creates vivid snapshots into a living history that still feels so present, prescient, and pressing.” Read the entire review by Julia Masden in FULL STOP here


“a paradoxical collection, in that narrative is abstract, but the language is incredibly precise…In the tender nets of Dentz’s poems, which are, at turns, brutal and delicate microcosms of the lived experience, the world undoes us, daily, then reminds us of our capacity for vision.” Read the entire review by Hanna Andrews in OMNIVERSE here


“Shira Dentz’s third, color-studded book, how do i net thee, invites an interactive, immersive reading experience. Dentz’s iridescent language might best be described as Play-Doh, constructed to be flexible, moveable, and often flung—though unlike Play-Doh, these poems are often weightier and sticky. Mostly resisting paraphrase and defying narrative explanation, Dentz’s lines instead sprawl and twist associatively across the neural net of the poet’s consciousness…this is a style that feels like Dentz’s alone.” Read the entire review in THE ADROIT JOURNAL here


“The Best of the Best of “: HEAVY FEATHER REVIEW Editors in 2018


“To be tolerant of uncertainty is to be available to the next experience, rather like Dentz, and this seems an important feature for a writer…[Dentz] is more concerned with showing how strange it is that this language-thing might be played to show the on-going spectacle of being.” Read Martin Corless-Smith’s  entire review in DIAGRAM here


“Immediately we are snared by a number of entangling forces: illustration, mathematics, objects sentient and non-, and a hazy delineation between predator and prey. This collection is at once an “arrangement of lines” as all poems are, and a constant negotiation between the protection and confinement those arrangements offer, between holding living things and providing the parameters necessary for freedom…Fittingly, Dent is a master of visual form…These are difficult, tactile, dangerous poems, and yet, in the end, it is the beauty that nets thee.”  From Rachel Abramowitz's review in the Fall 2018 print issue of SENECA REVIEW


“It is within this complex and double-edged sense of the grid, or the net, that Shira Dentz’s how do i net thee works, as she threads together the messy and necessarily imperfect familial ties that serve as a throughline throughout the book, while at the same time composing poems that are deeply skeptical of the nets she casts—or is caught up within…Not quite a closed text, hermetically sealed, and not quite an open text, freely given, how do i net thee straddles the seeming divide between these two camps of poetry, offering poems that must be actively composed by the reader through a navigation of the visual and syntactical grids Dentz constructs, but with a lyric throughline threading the poems and sections together.”  From Travis Sharp's review for ENTROPY


“A record of the need to constantly revise one’s account of the world… The page seems to have no center; the spine toggles between being a y and x axis. We manipulate the book like a bubble level, waiting for the poem to settle…By the end of it we have moved through such wide territory, from grief to parenthood to autumnal beauty to the cost of cherries, that we are aware there is no way to contain multitudes except to cast multifaceted forms. Language may be the best net for this we have, even though we know most of life will slip right through.”  From Andrew Seguin's review for THE COLORADO REVIEW


“The work drips with moments that leave more than dirt around the fingers… drops the reader into a space that simmers with horror and enchantment.” Read Bill Lessard’s full review at THE BROOKLYN RAIL here


“The force of imagination in Shira Dentz’s ‘how do i net thee’ is complex, bewildering, and polyphonic. Scaling and traversing its sensory-rich, charged space, the poems leap imaginatively across space and time…The poems in ‘how do i net thee’ are fully netted here. May readers not let them escape.” From Cheryl Clark Vermeulen’s review in Interim Magazine (Print Issue 35.5)

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