Away From Me

Caleb Klaces

Studio Foss (Design) TJ Books (Printer)




ISBN: 9781913513153


Publication date: 23 June 2021



Featured in The White Review‘s 2021 Books of the Year

and I was writing myself out of a hole I thought that actually was writing myself into a hole I think and Other Poems came as I was writing to a joyful bigger and bigger and

bigger inflating when a TN or Star is dying it gets bigger in bigger and that’s how you know it’s nearly expired it comes colossal how much writing was found to be on the right size

size of what passes through me when my send my voice out what comes back what happens to other people’s voices inside me what kind of sieve I am

from ‘explanatory notes with no fingers’

Away From Me is the highly-anticipated second collection from poet and novelist Caleb Klaces, following his acclaimed debut novel Fatherhood.

‘The world,’ wrote Georges Perec, ‘is big.’ The poems here rediscover the familiar intimacies of love, disgust, vulnerability, nurture and nostalgia in the vast spaces, technologies and voices that extend vertiginously beyond the individual self. This is a work with its own glitchy music and sharp beauty: ‘a joyful bigger’.

‘These are poems as thinking which sound nothing like thinking. Instead, Caleb Klaces has taken apart language and reassembled it to model a kind of thinking from first principles. Names are estranged, descriptions ironised, action deferred. As the collection’s title suggests, these poems try to get away from “me”. But the result is strangely personal, even utopian. The self is defined by the object of its attention. And though that object – like Mont Blanc seen in tiny font from a plane window – might be receding, it still exists as a sublime possibility. In the moment before “the attention and the object/ cancel each other out”, the satire of bad human relations and admin are elevated into something beautiful and cosmic.”’ – Will Harris

Away From Me offers an account of experience which is so inventive, and so accurate, it becomes funny, like a Roger Federer backhand. These beautifully open poems communicate a feeling I often get from Dickinson and Hopkins – of being rinsed and wrung – when distress at the pain in the world becomes almost indistinguishable from elation at its joys. This is a continuously sensitising, enriching, surprised and surprising book, which refreshes and refreshes the impossible facts of reality. These poems seem so intimate, it’s as if you’re in the room with the poet as they’re being written.’ – Oli Hazzard

‘The universe sprigs its nets and tendons out and particles of lives and lovers catch in the tangle. Bodies swell with the knowledge of their own micro-philosophies, their hunger, their material parts. Klaces tenderly gathers these languages and their attendant speculations, extracting pieces from the root of words and building odd new structures for inhabitants both known and abstract. Away From Me is like moving in a river, buoyant with the electric freedom of choosing which lens or guttered human conduit might best serve this pleasant displacement from the things right in front of us.’ – Helen Marten

‘As its title implies, Away From Me repeatedly departs from an individual voice—but only to return to it again and again. While some poems are completely overtaken by outside voices (the language of video games, consumer technology, popular culture), others tenderly engage with everyday speech. The poems are various, but not for the sake of novelty: the shifts in form propel the continuous oscillation between self and non-self. This is a terrific, lively book—abundant with ideas, jokes, and disharmonies.’
Steven Zultanski

‘Caleb Klaces has stripped the whole world back to its weird bones, and it’s all the more beautiful and intriguing for it.’
Ella Frears

‘… beautifully challenging … Klaces’ passionate explorations of subjectivity, language, reality, and the mind are ingenious and often delightful, and I found myself returning to the longer poems in particular.’
Poetry Review