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Days of 1985

We who pretended to lie down at parties

with lovers on vinyl couches or wished

we didn't but wouldn't admit it, licking


—Read the rest of Days of 1985 here

Grub Street Literary Magazine.

“This syllabus! I was floored as soon as I opened the document. The time and energy that you put into crafting this course shows from the first line. I especially appreciate how you translate such a conceptual idiom like listening into a concrete pedagogical approach that begins and ends with an interrogation of poetic voice and the lyric ‘I.’”

What People Say

“This is a poet who can toggle between bikinis and trilobites, between astrophysics and pop culture, between elegy and premonition. Kombiyil’s work is alive to whiplash our lives in the timeloops of the universe. ‘Let sprinklers equal X, an absence that is manifest./Now solve for bare feet glisten. Now step on constellations.’ This is a poetry of rigorous, ingenious, warmhearted exploration.”

—Maureen N. McLane,

National Book Critics Circle Finalist and National Book Award Finalist

“Ellen Kombiyil’s debut collection, Histories of the Future Perfect, contains one of the most marvelous lines of poetry I’ve read in quite a while:  ‘oh one one zero zero oh oh one.’ Unequivocating and precise as binary code, Kombiyil’s work hacks into the lyric itself, in poems of unsettling intelligence and emotional honesty. Like Wallace Stevens, this poet ‘delves past thought in search of/the anatomy of thought,’ but she always animates this anatomy with intimate feeling. From the boundaries of the universe to the nesting dolls of personal memory, Histories of the Future Perfect marks out a bold beginning for a voice of great talents.”


author of Facts for Visitors

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