A Turkish Dictionary

Available directly from 1913 Press

And also from Small Press Distribution

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Praise for A Turkish Dictionary

A wall of roses and a different sky—these are the policy Andrew Wessels commends to our disfigured and redacted world. And the commendation is not only timely, tender, and beautiful, though it is all that and much, much more. It is the sovereign lexicon of our best future. A Turkish Dictionary parses prophecy, word by word.

—Donald Revell

“'The purpose / of this book,' writes Andrew Wessels in his graceful and moving debut collection, 'is to explain / the vagaries of a poet.' Fashioning an arabesque from apologia, A Turkish Dictionary may be read as a work of translation theory, a historical travel guide to where East merges with West, a philosophical investigation, a love letter 'from A to Z,' and an indefinite lexicon wherein 'the cloud of word is cloud.' The bewildered literary cosmopolitan who speaks through these poems finds forms of dwelling where others would see only transition—'halfway down / the broken / staircase wandered / through'—and, in the process, Wessels acknowledges the longing at the heart of all belonging. In the end, A Turkish Dictionary renews our sense of the inexhaustible possibilities within all language, or, as the poet himself writes, 'the prayer itself a call to prayer.'”

—Srikanth Reddy


“Deeply relational, each poem lives in light of what has come before it, what losses and emendations have led there. This poetry exists in the interplay of large-scale pieces, travelogue and encyclopedia tessellated with lyric. Wessels seems to reject the idea that poems should be readable to one’s friends, or excerptable. What is needed instead, he suggests, is a dictionary that compasses Chaucer and Wittgenstein and Twombly on the longings of erasure…”

“But here’s what I like best — when Wessels gives us a full-blown straight-ahead poem. It’s as if he dissects rainbows to get words that we can intuit even if we can’t understand; this can be transformative. Wessels is lifting, lifting, lifting, the language, making us reach for it. The whole of the book is an unusual blend of imagination and documentation — aphorisms and prose — he’s unapologetically original; and I learned a lot about strange things that have been buried in the archives. This book is a new kind of country in the nation states of poetry…”

“Composed as both a personal and historical essay via the lyric collage, A Turkish Dictionary is expansive, stunningly beautiful and remarkably dense, reminiscent of other poem-essay works by poets such as Juliana Spahr, Sue Landers and Susan Howe for the disparate threads woven together to create a single, sustained line…”