Reading American Incident is an exciting, deeply unsettling experience. Few poets have Brian Henry’s eye and ear for the gridlock of everyday life in America today, where “A warning light is flashing on the dashboard: / we need tax relief now,” and the suburban front porch turns out to be the setting for the “Patricide” series—paragraphs that use a whiplash effect to dramatize the intractibility of our daily problems. But Henry’s satiric thrust is by no means condescending: his malice is directed at himself as well as everyone else. American Incident is brilliant, funny, reckless: one of the best books of poetry I've come across in a long time. (Marjorie Perloff)
This capacious third volume from a much-remarked young poet-critic offers versatility, up-to-the-minute references, and edgy verbal fireworks framed by a remarkable range of forms.… The volume represents an advance on Henry’s previous poetry not only in its startling quantity, but also in its quality: it will match, and perhaps extend, his growing transatlantic reputation. (Publishers Weekly
Henry’s wildly comprehensive lexicon and stylistic bag of tricks take us traveling through traditional and experimental poetic worlds.… Few poems today induce aesthetic delirium and delight like Henry’s best. (Christine Hume American Letters & Commentary
The real subject of Amercan Incident is violence—familial, political, and especially sexual. the idea of violence, threats of violence, and acts of violence run through virtually all the selections here, but are nowhere more obvious than in “Patricide in C Minor,” where that violence extends to the text in ways perhaps more unsettling to readerly expectations than descriptions of broken bodies. (Joshua Harmon West Branch
Henry is a keen observer who writes from a constantly changing perspective, often employing the techniques of montage and catalogue and typically eschewing a fixed point of view. (Philip Nikolayev Jacket Magazine
About the Author
Brian Henry is a U.S. poet, translator, editor, and critic. The author of nine books of poetry, he has received numerous honors for his work, including the Best Translated Book Award, the Alice Fay di Castagnola Award, a translation fellowship from the National Endowment for the Arts, and a grant from the Slovenian Academy of Arts and Sciences. He has co-edited the journal Verse since 1995, and his criticism has appeared in such publications as the Times Literary Supplement and New York Times Book Review. He translated Woods and Chalices by Tomaž Šalamun and The Book of Things by Aleš Šteger.