At last, we listen closely: cryptic crossword poems
Available for pre-order here! Coming in 2024 from Black Spring Press:
At last, we listen closely: cryptic crossword poems brings together two favorite pastimes: reading poetry and doing crossword puzzles. In this collection, Holly Painter invents an original form: solvable interconnected poems based on the wordplay-inflected cryptic crosswords found in British newspapers and around the world.
Organized into sections such as “Seas & Seasons” and “Characters & Conversations,” the collection comprises 55 poem pairs. Each half of the pair – the “clues” poem and the “answers” haiku – can be enjoyed as standalone poetry, with subject matter ranging from moon-washed forests to pub brawls, rebellious churchwomen to Vermont dairy cows. In some instances, the paired poems are obvious in their shared attentions, working in concert to depict the startling of a deer or a lifetime of queer love. Other pairs invite the reader to consider more oblique or metaphorical connections between the two parts, like an all-night frat party and the way that “zigzag bees pinball between dozy pink blossoms.”
Adventurous readers can also choose to join the poet in her work by obscuring the haiku and generating it themselves: each line of the “clues” poem employs the devices and tricks of cryptic crossword setters to provide one word of the “answers” haiku.
At last, we listen closely: cryptic crossword poems is a unique and boundary-blurring reading experience for poetry lovers and puzzle solvers alike.