“Simone Muench has stitched together a new creature out of scraps and vital organs she gathered in the boneyard. It lives. It leaps. It bounds. It’s at your window tonight. Too late for you, sweetheart.” — Daniel Handler
“Reading this book, I wanted cento to mean what it means in quattrocento. I wanted the book to last a century, a cycle. But also to name a period of social and aesthetic transformation. Perhaps we “played the wolf or the witch”; perhaps we were punished for these things, for the ways we had of being against the social. This book’s cunning is that it makes this idea in the most social way, from the storehouse of language. But I hear in it the realization that we must be against the social absolutely, if this present world is ever to pass away; we must go forward into the wolf century, and I want this book with me.” —Joshua Clover
“How easily one becomes enraptured by Muench’s new collection, given its surprising collisions of images, gorgeous lucidity, and the linguistic fecundity of each vital line. . . . So ingeniously, seamlessly, and provocatively does Muench arrange her selections, her potent patterns and imaginative juxtapositions retain the beauty and power of the original language while coalescing, alchemically, in original poems of haunting reverie, raw hunger, and struck wonder.”— Booklist
“Simone Muench’s poetry has always had about it a kind of personal urgency, the sense that image and lyric fully realized offer the self its best landscape. In Wolf Centos that urgency is, if anything, heightened by the constraints of the “cento,” in which all of the poem’s words are taken from other sources. Excused from narrative and anecdote, in a space of deliberate invention, Muench explores the self, desire, hunger, discrimination, animal sound, and song in quick, provisional spaces, often seen the wolf’s chill, primal natural setting but caught, as well, in the poet’s own sharp urban geometries. Her wolf is complex and protean, a familiar, whose howl inhabits and enables the articulate explorations of these powerful poems.”— Michael Anania
November stands at the door.
Tonight, the wolf is a solitary shadow
that spills between stone & revery
as bodies resume their boundaries.
Through open French windows
the forest edge enfolds blue animals
& behind the trees, the river—
its strange nakedness of wide
solitary margins. What have I known
but its bending? No more
second self, nor changing face,
no more wild lament of broken
mouths, red clouds. Scarcely
more than a word with no echo,
little tracks in the snow. Facedown,
I lick away the footprints.
I want to be strung up in a strong light & singled out,
winnowed from the water & the fire, stalked
by the she-wolf, each day to walk the wilderness
with its people, its animals, its toil & wind.
I want to unfold like Aztec hieroglyphs,
to multiply in the glass a transparent gold shirt,
exquisite as oranges & leaking muscovado casks.
To listen to the metal rattle of the world
as if there are gods somewhere
behind a vaulting sunrise, hissing salt.
A train of cranes outstretched towards alien frontiers.
I want to know there will be wine on the table.
To know the tenderness that gathers
over shoulders of wives. An open window.
A green river. The language of water.
I want everyone to know that I am still alive.