Brynn Saito’s debut collection of poetry begins in a cityscape and ends “deep in the cloud-filled valley,” traversing myriad terrains-both emotional and physical-as it weaves towards completion. From the bays of Denmark to the deserts of California, Saito’s searching lyricism gathers stories of sudden departures, forced removals, and the journeys chosen in between. Narrative selections inspired by childhood, sisterhood, lost loves and newfound freedoms are cased by interludes of otherworldly visions and persona poems spoken from many perspectives-animal and otherwise. This is a book about the ever-present capacity for wonder, transformation, and change: “The fighter is in me,” claims the speaker in the poem “Winter in Denmark,” “and the future is in me.” Inside every moment of rage or loss-beneath tough city sidewalks and under the quiet of a moonlit valley-is another moment, ripe with possibility and foretelling the future sky.
Praise for The Palace of Contemplating Departure:
“From the first pages of this brilliant new book readers will find a tough and vital vision that goes well beyond the personal, touching on aspects of American life you won’t have found expressed with such contemporary freshness and verve elsewhere. This largeness never inflates to bombast, but is guided by sympathetic wit and edgy, memorable phrasings. In one of her poems Brynn Saito writes, ‘It’s done: never again in my life / will I be only one thing.’ It’s her strong sense of mutability, even metamorphosis, I find most compelling. Real poetry by a real poet–one I expect to be reading for years to come.”—David Mason, Colorado Poet Laureate
“No wonder that Brynn Saito, even at a young age, is already a member of the country’s literary establishment. Even her student poetry attracted the attention of Dame Helen Vendler. I think it’s because unlike much of contemporary poetry, hers has depth.”—Ishmael Reed