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The Youngest Butcher in Illinois by Robert Ostrom
Cover Art: Dan Estabrook, Cover & Interior Design: KMA Sullivan
Paperback, 128 pages, 5.5" X 8"
September 2012, ISBN 978-1-936919-09-3


On our backs in pine
needles with dirty feet and
whale pleasures I swear
endlessly inside; with
affection with one of
God’s hairs; mandate
brazen. To choose the
color of the bikeshed.
Who stands outside
hears rummaging within.
Impermanence pedals
around a child. How much
colder can it get and still
sway and purse and touch.

The Youngest Butcher in Illinois by Robert Ostrom

SKU: 0000013
  • About The Youngest Butcher in Illinois

    Finalist, Norma Farber First Book Award, Poetry Society of America


    Here is some sorcery; not necessarily explicable. Here is the invisible; Robert Ostrom traffics in it.


    —Lucy Brock-Broido


    Shuttling between verse and prose, Ostrom weaves something timeless, excavating family histories, raising an edifice out in rural nowhere, half abattoir, half asylum, whose occupants might have stepped out of a scratched and battered tintype—whale oil burning in the backs of their skulls.


    —Timothy Liu, Coldfront


    With language that is by turns spare and lush, in lyrics broken by moments of prose, Robert Ostrom makes maps of ancestral charms by which to navigate the modern landscape. The Youngest Butcher in Illinois is a world unto itself, populated with fathers, children, grandparents, mothers, and lovers, all intrinsically entwined with their environments and presided over by the voice of the poet.

  • About Robert Ostrom

    Robert Ostrom is from Jamestown, New York. He is the author of two books, Ritual and Bit (Saturnalia Books 2016) and The Youngest Butcher in Illinois (YesYes Books 2012) and three chapbooks, Cross the Bridge Quietly (Phantom Books), To Show the Living (The New York Center for Book Arts) and Nether and Qualms (Projective Industries). He lives in Queens and teaches at New York City College of Technology and Columbia University.

  • Reviews

    Review by Chris Emslie at Coldfront

    Review by Jeffrey Allen at The Southeast Review

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