Danielle Blau’s PEEP invites you into a world so strange it is utterly familiar, a world from our ancient past that could also be the future—or a twisted version of the present. It is a mirror world where the husk of our culture shows starkly, and yet it is lit by joy, in the words, the verses themselves. PEEP is uncanny, primal, magical, capturing hopelessness, gridlock, our impact on the environment and those around us, questioning progress and the language we use to speak to each other, each little peep a little life desperate to not pass unnoticed.
"The first impressions Danielle Blau’s poems give the reader are impressions of newness and immediacy. These impressions also happen to be, along with the many others that billow out of these rich and abundant poems, the second and fifth (and fiftieth) impressions. Blau’s newness and immediacy aren’t ephemeral or fugitive. They aren’t calculated or contrived. And they aren’t generated from fashionable detailing or cultural signalling. Her poems glitter, and they’re incredibly energetic, but they’re never flashy, and their persuasiveness derives from deep sources. Though her flexible diction is present-day, though she has a gender-specific savviness and élan that probably wouldn’t have been possible before the advent of the twenty-first century (or thereabouts), though she’s street-wise, nothing in her work is just contemporary, nothing is independent of anything else. As hip as she is, she’s also a throwback to the Romantic vocation of organic form. All her effects are emanations of the fullness with which her sensibility inhabits language and the confident way her imagination takes possession of her experience ... peep is a tour de force, and it’s more than a tour de force. It displays deep within itself, for all its intellectual and imaginative power and self-delight, a curious tenderness and vulnerability. The book glories in language and thinking; it’s imaginative and bold; but it’s also intimate. If I were asked to account for this intimacy, especially in the face of all the other effects that Blau realizes, I might say, diffidently, that Blau is the performer of her own experience, but she is also its scholar and critic."
- Vijay Seshadri
“Danielle Blau obsessively plays with language until she hits something wondrous and strange. Her debut volume, peep, is jaunty and deft, utterly fresh, formally innovative, but it is also filled with secret hurts and sorrows. It has philosophical depths. Buoyant and brimming with linguistic maneuvers, it is ultimately a work of soul-making.”
— Edward Hirsch
“Danielle Blau’s peep cannot be read swiftly. There isn’t verbal-sleight-of-hand in this verse, yet peep challenges a reader to grasp rhythm in form, to internalize meaning and the joy in language. Urban yet measured, these poems demand an active reader who grows into each journey.”
— Yusef Komunyakaa
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Danielle Blau's Rhyme or Reason: Poets, Philosophers, and the Problem of Being Here Now is forthcoming from W. W. Norton. Her collection mere eye (Poetry Society of America, 2013) was selected for a Poetry Society of America Chapbook Award and published with an introduction by D. A. Powell, and her poems won first place in the multi-genre Narrative 30 Below Contest. Poetry, short stories, articles, and interviews by Blau appear in The Atlantic, Australian Book Review, The Baffler, The Literary Review, Narrative Magazine, The New Yorker's book blog, The Paris Review, Ploughshares, The Saint Ann's Review, several volumes of the Plume Anthology of Poetry, and elsewhere. Her work has been set to music by composers of various stripes and performed in such venues as Museum of Contemporary Art Australia and Carnegie Hall. A graduate of Brown University with an honors degree in philosophy, and of New York University with an MFA in poetry, she curates and hosts the monthly Gavagai Music + Reading Series in Brooklyn, teaches at Hunter College in Manhattan, and lives with her son Kai in Queens.