Dear Wallace


Dear Wallace

Julie Choffel

The Backwaters Prize in Poetry Series

90 pages


October 2024


$16.95 Pre-order

About the Book

Winner of the Backwaters Prize in Poetry

Dear Wallace addresses the poet and insurance executive Wallace Stevens in an attempt to reconsider art, power, and creativity amid the demands of everyday responsibility. Exploring relationships between modernism, motherhood, poetry, and privilege, the speaker of these poems puts her daily routines in dialogue with his. Curious, funny, and wry, Julie Choffel confronts Stevens as an unlikely peer who lived and wrote in the same city and weather as she does now, imagining a present-day conversation about the many ways creative practice is informed by social context. As we struggle to marry creative independence with our communal obligations, the questions in these poems are more urgent than ever. Stevens, a proxy for beauty, inventiveness, and legitimacy, becomes an audience for the ennui, anxiety, and politics of care that characterize another kind of writer’s life today.

Author Bio

Julie Choffel is an assistant professor in English at the University of Connecticut, Hartford. She is the author of The Hello Delay.


“Part homage, part rebuke, part domestic cri de coeur, Dear Wallace levels a nervy, philosophical critique at the myth of male genius and the American dream. Supreme fictions be damned. Here are notes toward a subversive, feminist reality.”—Suzanne Buffam, author of A Pillow Book

“With one part whimsy, one part despair, and a snogger of wry wit, Choffel drops us into the most halcyon disturbance ever to wake the dead. Here are the residues of our times: grief, parental exhaustion, a proclivity to avoid pants, proffered with restraint and tonal finesse to match her interlocutor, Wallace Stevens. From a domestic abyss that is gritty and abiding, these poems call to us, and with the grace of a gravedigger’s ladder, deliver us altered onto the turned earth, blinking.”—Jennifer Sperry Steinorth, author of Her Read

“In her daring, necessary Dear Wallace, poet Julie Choffel insists, ‘what people don’t realize is / form is personal.’ These urgent poems enact the realization that the personal is never settled but needs to be discovered anew, line by line. For Choffel, poetry is not the cry but rather the hope laden in the occasion of our humanity. Her work is what listening sounds like.”—Richard Deming, author of This Exquisite Loneliness

Table of Contents

Dear Wallace
Index of First Lines
Notes & Acknowledgments

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