LOVE LETTER TO WHO OWNS THE HEAVENS
Tupelo Press January 2022
Poems from Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens anthologized in
Boston Review's Poems for Political Disaster and Best American Poetry 2020
In Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens, Corey Van Landingham follows love through all its hulking permutations. “Hoe, mouth, man with hand in mouth: Egyptian hieroglyphic for love.” Van Landingham isn’t afraid to look beyond the sayable into the heart’s golden light. Visionary yet grounded, necessary yet rife with play, Love Letter to Who Owns the Heaven thunders with unearthly music.
—Quan Barry, author of Loose Strife
Corey Van Landingham’s first book, Antidote, was an indelible reading event for me. Now, with Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens, I am again forever located in space and time through having experienced her exquisitely wrought poems. This memorable book is about how we perceive space and time, and how chillingly we are perceived within them—by our gods, lovers, governments and drones. Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens does what all the art I love best aims for, yoking the intimate with the historical, rightly acknowledging they are one and the same.
—Kathy Fagan, author of Sycamore
In a world where drones are named for the messenger god, who is also the god of thieves, where a wedding celebration can be shattered by a missile fired by no one at all, in a world of destruction-by-proxy and a fever dream of omniscience, Corey Van Landingham gives us a beautiful, penetrating book of poems. These pages fairly shimmer with intelligence. And with something more important too: with insight that restores us to our senses.
—Linda Gregerson, author of Prodigal: New and Selected Poems
Corey Van Landingham’s Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens brings lush language to bear on pressing questions about technology; the changing nature of communication, love, and friendship; and the social constructedness of the self. “If there is a future and I exist in it, if I built a dwelling with my own devices, moved there alone, what then of the body?” she asks. Van Landingham’s writing is marked by a uniquely baroque sensibility, and perhaps because of that, she has a gift for finding beauty in the most quotidian interactions. As lyrical as they are incisive, her meditations on technology, politics, and other topical issues are quite singular in contemporary poetry. She writes in “Bad Intelligence,” “We named a drone Hermes, / after Herma, Greek for: prop, heap of stones, boundary / marker.” Unlike so many other writers who are considering our current cultural moment, Van Landingham’s work speaks to our desire for hope, beauty, and redemption. What’s more, her hopefulness is deeply rooted in history, antiquity, and a classical heritage. “We met among ruins,” she reminds us. This is a stunning book, and Van Landingham’s poems are as timely as they are timeless.
—Editor's Citation for Love Letter to Who Owns the Heavens