Award-winning poet Veronica Golos has created a conundrum–a vocabulary of silence that acts as a kind of zen koan for the reader: a negative space, an echo chamber, a mirror. Witnessing from afar the continuing wars in Iraq and Afghanistan conducted by the country in which she lives, the poet also witnesses herself, and struggles to find words to carry the weight of her felt responsibility. Golos then empties her beautifully wrought poems into the vast silence, filling it with the names of the dead and the living. Click here to order.


“It’s a difficult thing to write about war—especially so the one you’re not really in, not in the dirty part.  Poet Veronica Golos takes the fragments, the bits and pieces that reach us from the battlefield, and weaves them, with a morality and a sorrow, to make us understand both our helplessness and our responsibility. VOCABULARY OF SILENCE finds the cracks in our liberal armor and helps us feel our own shame.”

—Dr. Barbara Nimri Aziz,  Swimming up the Tigris: Encounters with Iraq; Pacifica Radio Producer

“Language fails. Eden in ruin. Golos is a serious poet, luminous and brave.  She watches our ghosts. Her poetry is wild in walled spaces, tunnels through which much comes: Iraq and America, Israel and Palestine, silence and shouting, war and prayer, light and violence, Mexico and New Mexico, the current news of the day and the essential news of the past and future. Golos is a poet who tells us both who we are and why we are. In her powerfully realized poems, she speaks of an immeasurable emptiness that could destroy us—or, perhaps, save us.”

 —Angelo Verga, In Praise of What Remains; NYC Cornelia St. Café Reading Series Curator

“In this ambitious second book, Golos responds to the U.S. invasion of Iraq with poems that just as readily evoke the Hindu creator-destroyer goddess Kali. ‘I offer grief,’ her speaker declares, ‘I know its gravity.’ Yet the energy pouring from these poems is palpable. At her best, they are a surging dark cloth and at the corner of each is a nail meant to hold the lines in place, such that the whole daring enterprise billows from the page.”

     —Sawnie Morris, Poet; Winner 2010 PSA Bogin Memorial Award

“Gorgeous poems—a luminous book. Veronica Golos tackles tough subjects here—torture, repression, and our complicity at the silencing of voices unlike our own—and yet the poems are never didactic, never heavy handed. This is a poet with extraordinary command of craft and an ear like none other. Her compassion touches everyone and extends to the reader as well. I came away grateful for her clear, unflinching vision and her willingness to see beauty in being human, in spite of all the failings that condition entails. Golos leads you down dark alleys, but never forgets to bring you back into the light. Highly recommended.”

 —De Las Montanas, Amazon.com

Book cover image by Conrad Cooper.