Us from Nothing
October 3, 2023
100 pages | ISBN 978-1-989496-72-5
From the big bang to the emergence of Homo sapiens to Kushim and the first recorded use of writing in 3200 BCE to the moon landing in 1969, Us From Nothing is a sprawling history of humanity. Striving to answer the big questions – Who are we? Where did we come from? How did we get here? – Geoff Bouvier has created a sweeping collection of poetry that gracefully captures the arc of our universe. Fifteen billion years ago, there was nothing, not even light. Now, we live in a universe that plays host to trillions of galaxies with uncountable stars, worlds and maybe even other life. Us From Nothing recounts this epic tale in richly imagined, yet crisp, prose poems that are carefully grounded in historical fact. The result is a remarkable poetic retelling of history that challenges us to think deeply not only about where we’ve come from, but also about where we’re going.
"An encyclopedic epic after Eduardo Galeano, Us from Nothing takes on history in poetically compressed, paragraphic cantos. In conversation with cosmic origins as it connects with patterns, past events and pressing concerns, the whole corrects records, and delights in telling a wholly relational tale of the tribe." – Hoa Nguyen, author of A Thousand Times You Lose Your Treasure
"This is a marvelous book. Only an immensely fertile imagination could tell so elemental a tale in so straightforward yet evocative a fashion. Simple sentences often carry astounding weight. Bouvier makes one care about characters like 'Life' and 'We' and then the emergence of virtually all of the world’s major thinkers in cameo." – Charles Altieri, UC Berkeley
About the Author
Geoff Bouvier’s third full-length volume of prose poetry, Us From Nothing, is a poetic history that stretches from the big bang to the near future. It will be published in 2023 in Canada (from Wolsak and Wynn’s Buckrider imprint) and in 2024 in the United States (by Black Lawrence Press). His first book, Living Room, was selected by Heather McHugh as the winner of the 2005 APR/Honickman Prize. His second book, Glass Harmonica, was published in 2011 by Quale Press. Recent writings have appeared in American Poetry Review, Barrow Street, Denver Quarterly, jubilat, New American Writing, Western Humanities Review and VOLT. He received an MFA from Bard College’s Milton Avery Graduate School of the Arts in 1997 and a PhD in Creative Writing from Florida State University in 2016. In 2009, he was the Roberta C. Holloway visiting poet at the University of California-Berkeley. He lives in Richmond, Virginia, with his partner, the novelist SJ Sindu, and teaches at Virginia Commonwealth University and Vermont College of Fine Arts.