Who That Divines

A new collection of poetry from the important experimental writer of the “A Tonalist” lyric



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Additional information

Weight .4 lbs
Dimensions 6.5 × .5 × 8 in

Who That Divines comprises short songs and puzzles and longer poems of memoir and history—all of which assert an unconventionally feminist sense of the possibility of locating the divine in language, politics, and daily life. Moriarty’s position as one of the most important writers of a postmodern lyric is confirmed by this dynamic collection that also includes the text of her experimental memoir “An Air Force.”


Who That Divines opens onto a vastness of inquiry wherein the political, the philosophical, and the autobiographical all commingle. Moriarty, our most adept chaosophist, marshals a “scattering/calibrated/ to assess the meant.” Via these deep and decentering investigations, we are led to discover a “power not one of belief but of being.”

ISBN: 978-1-937658-19-9
paperback, 132 pages, 6 x 8 1/4 in
Publication Date: 2014

Moriarty (A Tonalist) calls upon a wide range of poetic styles to explore the connection between agency and the divine in her latest collection. Opening with a Luce Irigaray epigraph—“Divinity is what we need to become free, autonomous, sovereign”—Moriarty looks at the divine broadly, considering in her poems divinity arises from sources and structures of power of all kinds, not just gods, and focusing especially on acts of divination, both in the traditional sense and in more expansive acts of discovery, seeing, and knowing. Brief, tightly-wound lyrics examine the authorial position, asking “how not to go/ Hunted haunted// Divine undaunted/ With you as reader.” Many of the poems have dedications or epigraphs, foregrounding a conceit of Moriarty’s generative process but, more importantly, marking language that did not originate with the author herself. The book’s many threads come together in “In the Air Force,” a long autobiographical poem that tracks “1 body” coming of age amid the “Preexisting condition/ Eternall War.” Through trenchant observations about knowing and being in lines like “Signs of impending rain/ Exist/ Rain itself/ Exits,” Moriarty makes direct inquiries into the most basic structures of human experience, venturing that “All of creation/ Takes part/ In the same nothing.”

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Laura Moriarty was born in St. Paul, Minnesota, and grew up in Cape Cod, Massachusetts and Northern California. She attended the University of California at Berkeley. She was the Director …

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