Peony Vertigo

By (author): Jan Conn

Poems emerging from deep memory and shifting landscapes to joyously engage flora, fauna, and self.

In her latest collection, Peony Vertigo, Jan Conn’s poetic sensibility disperses and gathers, careens and slides, in and out of relation with the endangered world. Through poems ranging from global to microscopic scales, Conn’s beholden, fluid sense of self dissolves into fog and river, and reconstitutes as bright orange newt, prehistoric horse, painter, and mourning daughter. Her voice is vulnerable, ecstatic, and elliptical, a tender exploration of liminal consciousness and the urge to identify with environments in crisis.


Jan Conn

Jan Conn was brought up in Asbestos, Quebec. She now lives in Great Barrington, Massachusetts and works as a professor of Biomedical Sciences whose research is focused on mosquitoes, their evolution and ecology. She has published seven previous books of poetry.


“Peony Vertigo is a stunning collection of poems in which the human and non-human worlds form an entanglement of mutualisms through language that is luscious and precise in carefully measured proportions. We are lucky readers that Conn is still offering us her ecologically-immersive poems: ‘A zigzag in the day and I step right into it / The great void, the mystery, the song of the white-throated sparrow.'” — Madhur Anand, writer and ecology professor, author of Parasitic Oscillations

“It’s a strange time to love the world, and Jan Conn’s poems are vivid documents of her trafficks in love for what is beyond repair and beyond compare. Part star, part venom, part bone, part microplastic, as she titles one of her poems, so is this book.” — Erin Robinsong, author of Rag Cosmology and Wet Dream

“Peony Vertigo is intelligent and fearless. In this ground-breaking collection, Conn writes with the analytic eye of a biologist, the precise hand of a painter, and the expansive mind-map of a world traveller. ‘Be very careful’ — a dare and an invitation.” — Jim Nason, author of Rooster, Dog, Crow and Blue Suitcase: Documentary Poems

“Where else, but in Jan Conn’s masterful verse-canvases, does a rose bloom inside a neuron? The multilayered journeys of Peony Vertigo bring us, line after lyrical line, from the particular to the unexpected. And where we land — whether soil, synapse, or stars — is as astonishing as how we get there.” — Lisa Rosenberg, author of A Different Physics


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112 Pages
8.50in * 5.75in * .28in


October 01, 2023


Brick Books



Book Subjects:

POETRY / Women Authors

Featured In:

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Other Titles by Jan Conn

Other books by Jan Conn