Little Envelope of Earth Conditions, Alice James Books (forthcoming January 2020)

“This is a heart-breaking, beautiful book, yes. But also one in which grief lights the page, as the poet tells us: ‘What is grief but a syllable that accumulates / us of our gravity.’ Having known loss, what does she learn? What knowledge is shared here? Knowledge is in the questions. Winrock is a brilliant lyric poet who shares: all we say, we say in a body. Nothing can be said outside it. What is the lyric poet doing in this book? She grieves and sings. She whispers about mothers, about daughters, she composes elegies, pastorals. ‘Our bodies have been exposed to all sorts of things. // The stars don’t believe in weeping us / to sleep.’ This knowledge is desolate, but it frees us: ‘our bodies pinned open into the last kind blues.’ This is the last frontier: ‘Listen, listen— /every time I’ve tried to bring our baby back // to the ground in our old city.’ I love the duality of this voice. Its tenderness and its ringing grief.”
–Ilya Kaminsky, author of Deaf Republic and Dancing in Odessa

In Little Envelope of Earth Conditions, there is a deepness so vast one cannot tell if Winrock speaks from inside a hole she dug through these poems, or the poems speak from a hole dug through Winrock. Is the moon above or below? Is grief a tourniquet wound around the missing? Or is grief a tourniquet unwinding into a brightening path? To write these poems, I get the feeling Winrock's heart must wander out of orbit, into the unimaginable, while her blood pumps in hundreds of directions at once. We need these poems to keep us company while we mourn for everything we've ever lost because "even the woodsmen / with their stethoscopes pressing the leaves // like dresses, like X-rays: cannot summon the dead." We need these gorgeous poems more than ever.  –Sabrina Orah Mark

”As I read Little Envelope of Earth Conditions, I started to wonder why I had for so long worried, and lately come to believe, that lyricism was fading from American poetry, because as I read Little Envelope of Earth Conditions, I felt the lyric beauty of the poems was at times as overwhelming as any in the language. But these poems are nonetheless utterly themselves, and if they sometimes call to mind great lyric poems that came before them, they do so because Cori A. Winrock, like all the best poets, has somehow, miraculously, allowed herself to sound exactly like herself, and has made thereby a book both inevitable and unforeseen, and new.” –Shane A. McCrae

This Coalition of Bones available now! Kore Press, Amazon, or shop local


Insistence pervades Cori A. Winrock’s poems. The coalition of bones that gives this book its title so insists on fusing “things / never intended for union” that the speaker must simply “accept” that fusion. Meanwhile, lakes insistently “lace themselves with ice,” broken bones heal toward “the body reaching // through hushed tissue,” knitted wool unloops itself, root systems search “for afterheat in the dirt,” a galaxy of snow rushes a windshield. Cori A. Winrock’s collection may be a coalition of bones, but is also a coalition of insistent images, insistent songs.   –H. L. Hix

From "Portrayal, X-Ray" straight through to "Dear Exterior, or The Opposite of Factory is Museum," Cori A. Winrock's poems expose a gorgeous interiority: of cities, of structures, of forests, of relationships and bodies, what informs and what infirms us—the "In-disposed you are vivid sections-of." The collection's winterized landscape of forms includes serial poems of Houdini-inspired "nested escapeboxes;" a ghazal that elevators through "heart containers" of ribcage, mouth, desert, illuminating each floor to slow our descent; a sonnet sequence aglow with suburbia's white-hot disclosures. Throughout, one finds and feels the sybaritic knit to the scientific. Interlaced by complex bridges of "ball & heel," of "suggestive steel," of "consensual togetherness," what holds together This Coalition of Bones is ultimately Winrock's intense and compelling voice. A noteworthy debut, indeed. Tell your mama. –Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon

Cori A. Winrock’s This Coalition of Bones seats the reader in a darkened theater, then dazzles eye and ear with an intimate portrait of life’s complexities, whether systems of the body or motions of the world. With equal measures of apposition and immersion, Winrock’s poems approach memory as artifact, and treat the human figure as an object of tender examination. “Dear Exterior, or The Opposite of Factory is Museum” begins, “An inverse. A bright white déjà vu: / a hand inside a head unraveling the public // memory. Step into the same freezing / corridor brimming with preservation // lines of object and meant-to-be // seen.” This Coalition of Bones is a stunning debut, luminous in its rendering of corporeality and the unknown. –Mary Biddinger

Cori A. Winrock's poems are often gorgeous and wild rearrangements of the material world; yet just as often, they summon a precise and glimmering architecture to hold what inhabits the in-between: scapes of memory, of magic, of myth. Of X-ray and disembodiment and desire. With each poem, she builds a new and brilliant thing.    –Allison Titus

These poems blow me away. These are metaphysical examinations of sadness, a body opera, a hyper- saturated color tour of suburbia. Bones, electricity, neurons—all insiders. Winrock’s scientific knowledge fuels a sensibility of uncovering the skin of the world, interpreting how its interiors work. Sometimes how it works is that glass lungs hang from clavicles by threads. Sometimes how it works is a once-conjoined twin finds evidence of her sister in a piece of wrapping tape. Sometimes we escape our suburban homes by shining a light on our hands.   –Deborah Fries