Fixer: Poems (Paperback)

Fixer: Poems By Edgar Kunz Cover Image

Fixer: Poems (Paperback)


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From the author of the award-winning Tap Out – “a gritty, insightful debut” (Washington Post) – Edgar Kunz’s second poetry collection propels the reader across the shifting terrain of late-capitalist America. 

 Temp jobs, conspiracy theories, squatters, talk therapy, urban gardening, the robot revolution: this collection fixes its eye on the strangeness of labor, through poems that are searching, keen, and wry. The virtuosic central sequence explores the untimely death of the poet’s estranged father, a handyman and addict, and the brothers left to sort through the detritus of a life long lost to them. Through lyrical, darkly humorous vignettes, Kunz asks what it costs to build a home and a love that not only lasts but sustains.

Edgar Kunz is the author of two poetry collections: Fixer (Ecco, 2023), a New York Times Editors’ Choice Book, and Tap Out (Ecco, 2019), which the Washington Post called “a gritty insightful debut.” He has been a National Endowment for the Arts Fellow, a MacDowell Fellow and a Wallace Stegner Fellow at Stanford University. Recent poems appeared in the New Yorker, the Atlantic, Poetry, and American Poetry Review. He lives in Baltimore and teaches at Goucher College.

"Haunting...Reading Fixer, you can’t help thinking of Raymond Carver and the way that his blue-collar, stripped-to-the-bone style served as a corrective in the 1980s." — New York Times Book Review

"An arresting vision buoyed by Kunz’s wry wit." — Washington Post

"It is difficult to describe Edgar Kunz’s Fixer without engaging in the superlatives that the book’s own ethos would defy, without swarming the page with adjectives that seem to oppose each other, but somehow, in Fixer, do not. Elegant, raw. Romantic, deadpan cynical. Lushly erotic and spare. Informal in diction but perfectly artful in structure and craft. Fixer is a book of work. Of the ludicrous jobs we do to stay almost-afloat. Glass cutter. Gas station model. Dip taster. The addictive, Sisyphean work of hunting for work, enacted in clean syntax that cuts to the chase and the bone. The weird labor of loss. Even of gain. I find myself bonded to the unheroic hero of these poems, whose world and character are as sustained and convincing as the protagonist’s in a novel I can’t shake. I know these feelings—of failing oneself, failing and being failed by others, losing a parent who was already lost, and sustaining oneself via desire, and even love. Maybe it fails the book to call it a masterpiece, but it’s all I’ve got." — Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets

"Stunningly beautiful...Outstanding...These narrative poems are haunted by memories, some tragic, some funny, some stunningly beautiful...An unsparing yet buoyant collection." — Booklist

"Edgar Kunz is the real deal. Hard-nosed, hard-edged, and hard on his craft, he first caught us slipping with Tap Out–and now, before we could fully recover, he’s followed up with the haymaker that is Fixer. Story, lyric, tight rhythms and taut lines. Intellect, heart. It’s all here. Fans of Philip Levine, Denis Johnson, or Dorianne Laux will find in these poems reason to smile—even through tears—knowing that the tradition of the working class American lyric is in strong hands. This book is a god damned knock out." — John Murillo, author of Kontemporary Amerikan Poetry and Up Jump the Boogie 

"I am deeply moved by Edgar Kunz’s second collection, Fixer. Entirely surprising, the poems move from rumination to revelation, from devastation to determination, in effusive and masterful strokes. Fixer is a gospel of American truths, weighted by complex circumstances and freed by the imagination. A remarkable book by a poet who continues to shine with tender and lyrical precision." — Tina Chang, author of Hybrida

"If Horace conceived the poet’s work as a process of 'put[ting] the badly turned lines back on the anvil'—as a kind of literary fixing, in other words—Kunz demonstrates here and throughout Fixer that he is a brilliant Horatian. The collection is a remarkable entry, it seems to me, in the contemporary 'gas-station realism' movement, but it also stands on its own as a forceful meditation on labor and on the laboring that life is." — Preposition

“Affecting and lyrical…Kunz has written a beautiful collection about becoming ‘fixed,’ not just in the sense of repair but in the sense of finding a permanent home for oneself, even while recognizing that what’s best about one’s life can only be grasped in hindsight.” — Publishers Weekly