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“It isn’t easy to ride a mechanical bull. I lasted three seconds. It’s one of those things you think you’d be good at and when you try you realize it’s like everything else: you need to work at it. Rennie Ament’s first book, MECHANICAL BULL, revels in those feelings: the intoxicating confidence of fantasy, the punchy fuck-it, the (often funny) reality check, the subsequent humbleness, and the dust-yourself-off-and-do-it-again. But it’s not that linear; MECHANICAL BULL is all of it all at once. Linear thinking is a dead-end ‘pilfered by sons of important men / who became important men / who made sons.’” —Sommer Browning
“If, as Rennie Ament says in a poem in her new book MECHANICAL BULL, ‘poems are a bed of nails,’ then taking in this book results in a full body experience. At first, marvelous sounds drive its sense and the book’s all delight and discovery of one poet’s urge to make their own joyful noise. Ament’s noise is loud and clear and new and often delirious. And then something else settles into the mix in the guise of it taking ‘too long to sleep,’ and noticing we’re as berserk as bees. Ament’s book is powerful with dangers lurking all through it, with not a clue to lull us into believing we just might not be this book’s next happy victim.” —Dara Barrois/Dixon
“Blithely unhinged, Rennie Ament’s MECHANICAL BULL gathers its utterances together from strange and varied areas of knowledge, while maintaining the kind of eye contact that makes my nervous giggling give way to a silence in which I can’t help but see how the poems’ words align with the world I thought I knew. It’s fun and also frightening, like the old joke—What goes ha ha bonk?—about a man laughing his head off. With casually excellent technique, Ament wriggles in and out of linguistic constraint, in contortions that leave my mind glistening with the residue of all that’s been touched: history, theology, horses, grief, beef jerky. What I am trying to say is this book is actually beautiful. You’ll feel it in your throat.” —Heather Christle
Author Website“Little Brown Birds” @ Annulet Poetics Journal“He Then Pledged” @ Poetry Northwest“I Am a Spongiologist” @ The Literary ReviewInterview with Rennie Ament @ Newfound
Rennie Ament's work has appeared in The Literary Review, Poetry Northwest, DIAGRAM, Sixth Finch, Colorado Review, West Branch, and other journals. A nominee for both the Pushcart Prize and Best New Poets, she has received support from Millay Arts, the Saltonstall Foundation, the New York State Summer Writers Institute, the Center for Book Arts, and the Vermont Studio Center. She lives in Maine.