Michael Passafiume’s poetry is distinctly his own voice, with echoes of his influences thrumming from page to page. From the splintery childhood memories of crumbling suburbia to the “tsunami left in its wake” of a suicide, archipelagos moves fluidly from loss to grief to rage to disappointment, before bringing the reader to a state of grace, of sorts. Though “everything that rises” must fall, everything that yields is not weak. archipelagos is certainly the slow rise that follows a deep fall.
–Allie Marini Batts, author of Before Fire: Divorce Poems, Unmade & Other Poems, You Might Curse Before You Bless & others
A new voice is here. Any other singers ought to just go home. Michael Passafiume’s big, generous poems veer around “backyard baseball diamond[s] like a fuse doused in gasoline.” In poems at once tender, sexy, and shipwrecked, “a horror show of shiny things with matching handbags,” Passafiume calls on laser language and images, in small and large gestures. These poems are so loud they’re also quiet. They will press their palms against your heart.
-Jenny Factor, author of Unraveling at the Name and Core Faculty in Poetry, Antioch University
Michael Passafiume holds nothing back in these tough and tender poems, breaking your heart while holding up his own—mad, pulsing, shouting I’m still here. He drills down through memory for meaning, haunted by loss, yet full of clear-eyed insights. Filled with candor, and surprising dark humor, archipelagos is a remarkable debut by a skilled poet whose voice needs to be heard, and listened to.
-Jim Daniels, author of Birth Marks