By Caylin Capra-Thomas
A debut book of poetry from rising star Capra-Thomas, Iguana Iguana stomps around the country learning about friendships, uncertainty, and belonging.
Publication Date: 8/2/22
Alive to the beauty and anxiety of new worlds and people, Iguana Iguana imagines a tough and tender soundtrack for tumbleweeds in search of roots. Recursive, deliberate, and as adaptive as their titular lizard, these poems invite us to listen so as to better hear “...the sweet shriek / of those far-off trains you suspect are coming / to claim you. To lay open the hills you haven’t seen.” Caylin Capra-Thomas writes towards understanding the strangers we meet and knowing the stranger within. In doing so, she maps a blueprint for "lay[ing] into the world / like it's good enough."
Caylin Capra-Thomas's other works include the chapbooks Inside My Electric City (YesYes Books) and The Marilyn Letters (dancing girl press). Her poems have appeared in journals including New England Review, Pleiades, Copper Nickel, 32 Poems, Hayden's Ferry Review, and many others. The 2018-2020 poet-in-residence at Idyllwild Arts Academy, she now lives in Columbia, Missouri, where she is a PhD student in English and creative writing.
"Reading Caylin Capra-Thomas’s Iguana Iguana I felt, at times, as if Virginia Woolf were reaching into the gold and copper and rusting trucks of an Americana landscape where a self is seen 'bursting into being in spring like flies or pines / or mushrooms. Still nervous as a ghost, throat / filled with smoke.' [...] Mining the psychological and philosophical potential of each little moment is where this collection really shines." —Layla Benitez-James, Poetry Foundation
"To sit with the book is to know it's all important — Capra-Thomas never wastes a word or loses her voice. Her seamless lyricism and particular perspective ring true, making Iguana Iguana one of the best poetry collections of 2022." —Aarik Danielsen, Columbia Daily Tribune
"Iguana Iguana. What a glorious ride. These wild and wise poems travel so many places, like dreams built from an ordinary life, an ordinary inner madness, and they contain so much humor and humanity, so much muchness and toughness and tenderness and forgiveness. Of everything and everyone. Jim and Sylvester and William, no-see-ums and mothers, good and bad boyfriends, girlfriends, stray cats and dead birds, dancing pecs and death. Damn, I’m impressed." —Dorianne Laux, author of Only As the Day Is Long
"This is the kind of book, rare indeed, that makes me fall in love with the 'I' all over again. The lyric 'I,' witness of the land and what dwells upon it: 'The river / is high again and so are the teenagers.' Oracle, as well, of interior spaces, and the correspondences that arise between inner and outer: 'the oranges with hard little navels, the navels identical / to mine.' The 'I' that examines feeling and memory and, in that examination, ignites imagination. Iguana Iguana is composed of many slippery selves—the Florida self, Montana self, daughter, lover, kid, adult, the solitude junkie, the working class self, and the kitchen self, 'Alive before that moment, alive through the dishes…' All the selves are united in their lack of cloying hopefulness and easy outs, and their awareness of the mortal body, which is also the source of the book’s comedy: 'If death is the body’s failure, it is also its final fuck you.' Caylin Capra-Thomas is a brilliant mystic of the real." —Diane Seuss, author of frank: sonnets