At long last, All the Ordinariness, a full-length title by Tony Mancus, is almost here, with cover art by Patrick Joust and book design by Alban Fischer.
If you're in the US, you can pre-order All the Ordinariness directly from Magnificent Field. We are a pay-what-you-want press; $20 is the recommended price to cover the title, shipping, and to support the press. Pre-ordered copies will ship in November.
Tony Mancus is the author of a handful of chapbooks, including Apologies (Reality Beach), Bye Sea (Tree Light Books), Diplomancy (Horseless Press), and City Country (Seattle Review). This is his first full-length collection. He works as an instructional designer and serves as chapbook editor for Barrelhouse and he lives in Colorado with his wife, son, and two yappy cats.
Tony Mancus’ All the Ordinariness contains poems with an ambition for the extraordinary— poems that both pleasure and disrupt with their sly music. New compound words such as “growagain,” “wetlooking,” “daystressed,”“sametwin,” and “pluckliked” erupt from the page, while cunning eye tricks flourish such as, “your name before I act— a cat/in my throat.” Or, for instance “something wheeled and welled from another/ago, another slipform, another clipshop/…strain gazed, dry eyed and picked over/ repeat reaper, repeat restraint” or, “dry tears on the dollar/ dead present, depressed/dead president.” Mancus’ musicality of lines, often aided with the work of alliteration and assonance, dances the eye and delights the ear. Yet, his poems are much more than technical feats of line magic— at the heart of this book are philosophical musings and interrogations of how to exist in our frequently confusing humanness— to drag our bodies and brains around— to be responsible for each other and society at large. The intermittent apocalyptic setting of late-Capitalism (“…we are busy/building pyramids of trash and glass to buy/our lives back”) and the recurrent theme of shifting, fallible memories build pathways throughout the entire collection of poems. Mancus writes, “When you were a child you thought it might make a difference. It does and/doesn’t. The size of a belief after it has been disproved.” In another poem the speaker says, “I am not sick with emotion. It’s just, what drowns in me. As a question.” This debut collection startles with wonder and rages with compassion. Or, perhaps, Mancus says it best when he writes, “Say your curtain call and the sparrows knit a shadow into/ the sky. If you remain. If you leave.” These poems will remain and leave the reader with the desire to return to them over and over again.
—Steven Karl, author of Sister
In All the Ordinariness, Tony Mancus busts up and builds back language to explore the tragic injustice of imagination: the imagined self you carry in your head and the one that spills out in front of others, the imagined, possible world and the one we wake up in every day. Mancus grounds us in the gore of a fractured civilization with feverish lists—Here this bag of stone, here a cricket saw, a claw from a crayfis —the way we might list five things we see, four we hear, three we feel, to fend off an anxiety attack. He upends notions we abide through habit, kettle calling the pot back, the yeahs in every song, and copes with the chaos that creates by summoning new words—mothwalks, seedpit, deadlipped, lackabody. I admire Mancus's honest voice, the acknowledgement of a certain depressed resignation, more imagetext/more-tisements, and I am awestruck by the way he always writes us back into finding delight in the world: You can always go now. You can always go on. Like a light. Really like it. I love the way this book trusts language, and how it makes me trust in it, too.
—Sommer Browning, author of Good Actors
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