Dynamite by Anders Carlson-Wee


by Anders Carlson-Wee

ISBN: 978-1-4243-1804-9
Softcover, 25 pages.
Winner of the 2015 Frost Place Chapbook Competition
selected by Jennifer Grotz

SKU: 978-1-4243-1804-9 Categories: , Tags: , , ,


The poems of Anders Carlson-Wee’s debut chapbook Dynamite flare with the volatile heat of discovery and loss as they follow the journeys of a speaker whose wanderlust leads him to the fringes of the American experiment. Whether hopping freight trains with his brother or sleeping in the homes of strangers, the speaker is haunted by the tragic and oddly gracious people he meets. Selected by Jennifer Grotz as the winner of The Frost Place Chapbook Competition, Anders Carlson-Wee’s Dynamite rides into the unmappable territories and wide expanses of the spirit.

“The poems in Anders Carlson-Wee’s Dynamite areas their title suggests, dramatic and volatile, filled with an explosive and masculine energy. And yet it’s the subtle but ever-surfacing lyricism radiating out from stunning understatements coupled with precise and nuanced detail that makes these poems unforgettable. Dynamite is a collection that first affects the reader strongly and swiftly—and then achingly and hauntingly over time.”  —Jennifer Grotz, author of The Needle

“So attuned to the music and texture of syllables, the sound-sculptures of syntax, and the complex under-meanings of metaphor, that shaping phrases and sentences to enact (rather than merely express) their own meanings is already second nature to him. Anders Carlson-Wee makes the rugged physical and emotional world of the upper plains our world.” —B.H. Fairchild, author of Early Occult Memory Systems of the Lower Midwest

“You’ll wish you knew the birdcall for this book’s kind of danger—the danger of beauty, the danger of change.” —Traci Brimhall, author of Our Lady of the Ruins

“Carlson-Wee’s strangely practical lyricism offsets sentimentality and points us back to the moment and its violence. The more time I spend with these poems, the more I admire them.”  –Rain Taxi Review

Read the title poem:


My brother hits me hard with a stick
so I whip a choke-chain

across his face. We’re playing
a game called Dynamite

where everything you throw
is a stick of dynamite,

unless it’s pine. Pine sticks
are rifles and pinecones are grenades,

but everything else is dynamite.
I run down the driveway

and back behind the garage
where we keep the leopard frogs

in buckets of water
with logs and rock islands.

When he comes around the corner
the blood is pouring

out of his nose and down his neck
and he has a hammer in his hand.

I pick up his favorite frog
and say If you come any closer

I’ll squeeze. He tells me I won’t.
He starts coming closer.

I say a hammer isn’t dynamite.
He reminds me that everything is dynamite.

Anders Carlson-Wee is the author of DISEASE OF KINGS (W.W. Norton, 2023), THE LOW PASSIONS (W.W. Norton, 2019), a New York Public Library Book Group Selection, and DYNAMITE (Bull City Press, 2015), winner of the Frost Place Chapbook Prize. He is also the editor of the anthology BEST NEW POETS 2024. His work has appeared in The Paris Review, The Washington Post, Harvard Review, BuzzFeed, American Poetry Review, Ploughshares, Virginia Quarterly Review, The Sun, The Southern Review, and many other publications. The recipient of fellowships from the National Endowment for the Arts, Poets & Writers, the Camargo Foundation, Bread Loaf, Sewanee, and the Napa Valley Writers’ Conference, he is the winner of the Poetry International Prize. His work has been translated into Chinese. Anders holds an MFA from Vanderbilt University and is represented by Massie & McQuilkin Literary Agents.

As a visiting writer, Anders has been hosted by universities, high schools, bookstores, and book festivals across the country, including Emory University, Vanderbilt University, Rutgers University, Penn State, University of Portland, Pacific Lutheran University, Auburn University, Western Washington University, California Lutheran University, Carleton College, University of Hartford, NC State University, Washington & Jefferson College, Phillips Exeter Academy, the Stella Adler Studio of Acting, the Nightingale-Bamford School in NYC, the Southern Festival of Books, Wisconsin Book Festival, the Marin Poetry Center, Powell’s Bookstore, Greenlight Poetry Salon in Brooklyn, Poetry Society of New Hampshire, the Fourth Sundays Reading Series at Claremont Library in Los Angeles, and the New York Public Library Book Group.

Anders has taught at the Fine Arts Work Center, Vanderbilt University, Western Washington University, the Art Academy of Cincinnati, and the Solstice MFA program at Lasell University. He has also taught classes at The Loft Literary Center, The Porch Writers Collective, The Midwest Writers Center, and Pioneer Valley Writers Workshop.

Anders’ work has been reviewed and discussed in The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Atlantic, The Guardian, Publisher’s Weekly, Booklist, The Kenyon Review, The Sun, Rain Taxi Review of Books, West Branch, The Sewanee Review, and on Slate’s podcast Lexicon Valley with John McWhorter, among many other places.

Additional information

Weight .25 lbs
Dimensions 5.5 × .25 × 8.5 in


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