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Tell Me Every Anchor Every Arrow

Tell Me Every Anchor Every Arrow


Steffi Drewes


    2016, 86 pages

    ISBN 978-0-932716-85-9




    Tell Me Every Anchor Every Arrow traces simultaneous trajectories on a map that takes shape in real time: relationships, conversations, dream worlds, daily minutiae, and natural phenomena shift against a vivid panorama, spanning subways, Pacific coastlines, and desert highways. Here, a horizon line is not merely a vista, but an urgent, incantatory text resonant with the textures of smoke curls, ant colonies, and stale gum. Together, these nautical odes, anti-pastoral narratives, philosophical inquiries, and epistolary postcards present a kaleidoscopic travelogue exploring human connection and self-determination.




    Steffi Drewes is the author of the chapbooks Magnetic ForestCartography Askew, and History of Drawing Circles. Her work has also appeared in various journals, including 6x6Zen MonsterThe East Bay ReviewEleven ElevenMonday Night, and the anthology It's night in San Francisco but its sunny in Oakland (Timeless, Infinite Light). She is the founder of Featherboard Writing Series and manages the Writer in Residence program at Aggregate Space Gallery in Oakland. Tell Me Every Anchor Every Arrow (Kelsey Street Press) is her first full-length publication.


    This is one of the most exuberant debuts I've ever read. Precious few poets go so undaunted by the extravagant plastic possibilities of syntax; fewer still so readily measure their lines "in thumbprints or dumplings/in trees not planted or one-syllable birdcalls." To be enthused once meant to be possessed by a god, and indeed these poems recall sibylline speech, alternately sublime and divinely silly. The only check on Drewes's channeling of music's alternative knowledge is her rigorous intelligence, which she employs to make of failure—to love, to understand, or to come to terms with an experience—a durable enchantment. By her sights, these failures take flight as poems as light and artfully made as kites. By dint of feint and sleight of hand, they zephyr upward fueled by accident, swerve, and skew.

    —Brian Teare


    Steffi Drewes's poems brightly "point to paintings of green hilly landscapes with gigantic sky," describing the whole lot (every arrow) between the enigmatic pastoral and the peculiar duress and distortion of the self and the "you" in social and intimate relationships. Tell Me Every Anchor Every Arrow calls "all the loyal beasts and lovers back to the land sprawl" in order to deftly engage what might "come closer" to the speaker's heart and sense. We, readers, can lavish in this vantage point and pleasure in the honest and lyrical "duststorm of longing" brimming in this tremendous collection.

    —Prageeta Sharma



    Steffi Drewes

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