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In Memory of a Banyan Tree: Poems of the Outside World: 1985 to 2022
Three Wooden Trunks
The Country Where Everyone’s Name Is Fear: Selected Poems
  Derek Annis

ISBN 978-1-7333400-0-7     $18  /  $21 (Canada)     5.5 x 8.5       

90 pp      
PUB DATE: March 2020       Featured Poetry


Neighborhood of Gray Houses, a debut collection by Derek Annis, is a bitter, joyful, wise addition to the literary conversation. The poems, even those that border on the surreal, have a direct toughness that seems to slow down the moment each poem inhabits, regardless of its dimensions, and make the reader listen to this strong and original new voice. I can confidently predict that none of those who listen will be sorry for having done it.

—Christopher Howell

Derek Annis writes in the voice of an intimate stranger in these brilliantly fractured lyrics. Narrative and associative and wild, these poems end far from where they start, but are shaped with precision, as if constructed out of glass that’s been passed through a fire. In the Neighborhood of Gray Houses, nothing is untouched by grief and by beauty, and “. . . the children / bury rosebuds / under heaps of trash” while “a wolf howls back / to an ambulance.” This is a brilliant collection of poems, and a tour through a neighborhood full of unforgettable terrors and miracles.

—Laura Kasischke

About the Author

Derek Annis

DAPhotoDerek Annis lives in Spokane, Washington, and holds an MFA from Eastern Washington University. He is an editor and social media manager for Lynx House Press, and has been a reader and editor for Willow Springs Magazine. His poems have appeared in Colorado Review, The Gettysburg Review, The Missouri Review Online, Spillway, Third Coast, and many other journals.



Mother touched her hair
to the torch to keep
us warm, peeled flesh
from her chest for us to eat.
We sat beneath the porch
to smoke and drink. We buried
our dirty thumbs to the knuckles
in each other’s eyes, broke
roses against the rocks.
She fashioned a buckle
from bottle caps
with which to clip my lips
shut, and blew our noses
out with bricks. I love you
more than putrid fruit,

she said, and plucked
the few remaining nails
from my fingers.
He wore his finest suit
the day he left,

she said, pulled the teeth
from his own head
and left them in a box
atop the mantle.

Then she sprouted
sails. The wind
began to lift her.

—Derek Annis