Homing Devices

By Liz Waldner


O Books
Original Language(s)
Additional Credits
Cover art by Greg Drasler
Design by Guy Bennett
Edition, Year
First Edition, 1998
In Print

Liz Waldner’s Homing Devices is “more of a small, wiry museum than a book” that takes turns in language either for its own sense of aversion or for the quality of the ride. The book is restless in its methods, drawing upon myth, history, allusions to high and low culture, and the personal in the public. As Laura Moriarty writes, “The work is a way of life as well as a way home.”

Liz Waldner
Liz Waldner was born in Cleveland, OH, and raised in rural Mississippi. She earned a BA in mathematics and philosophy at St. John's College and an MFA at the Iowa Writer's Workshop. Her first book of poetry, Read More

The speaker-gatherer of these poems journeys through language like an indiscriminate tourist, one moment recording an image which functions both visually and aurally–”The train whistle like a big soft sided harmonica”–the next exhaustively tracking a slip of the finger: “That is a typo, ‘sweetit’. Interesting that. She did not call me sweetit, no one has ever called me sweetit, she called me sweetite. No that is not right either, but also interesting.”

— Matthea Harvey, Boston Review


Praise for Homing Devices

Just when you might think there is no place else to go, along comes Liz Waldner’s Homing Devices, a hyper-conscious panoply of textural gambits, in which a landscape of colliding allusions—to cultural artifacts high and low, events historical and personal, myth ancient and contemporary—is enjambed with a punning and cunning delight in the games language can play. Driving these restless schemes is the real motherlode, a poignant search fro connection, to the self, to the world, and to the other in the world. “So much not-knowing in an alphabet so small; so few approved postures for our attempts to be. Sweet bee, doesn’t it hurt?”

— Ann Lauterbach

More of a small wiry museum than a book, Robert Walser-like, a cute girl chewing a pencil, God it’s my dream of literature, this kind of writing, shapeless and surprising, then not. Stern and quite alert. Liz Waldner’s Homing Devices awakened me to how often I’m unused when I read, here I’m occupied, confused, satisfied. The book is enough. She’s great.

— Eileen Myles

Liz Waldner is tough with words. Homing Devices is Spicerian in subject matter (sex, tarot, language, Dante, romance, gender, sex), as well as in its speechy ironic diction. The writing proceeds listily on the surface of itself to identify opportunities in the words to arrive at an essence or epiphany of experience. “The half-life of secret plants. Secret plans. Secret hearts. Sacred hearts. Sacred hearths.” The work is a way of life as well as a way home. She doesn’t get there but it’s a wild ride.

— Laura Moriarty

So much of what has been wonderful in American poetry continues and blossoms entirely afresh in Homing Devices that I am delighted and a little awed to discover it. Here I find beautiful salutations of James Schuyler in dew voice. Here I witness the tender experiment of Gertrude Stein practised with new acuity this very moment. Best of all, I find an original companion voice for the end of the century, one with whom to “walk with a step like milk.” Homing Devices is superb.

— Donald Revell

We Also Recommend

The Case
By Laura Moriarty
By Khadijah Queen
Art by Ashley Lamb
By John Crouse

Dedicated support from individual readers like you funds our day-to-day operations and enables the programming we undertake in direct service to the visionary writers and artists whose works we champion.