Published by the Center for Literary Publishing at Colorado State University
Winner of the 2014 Colorado Prize for Poetry
“In T. Zachary Cotler’s Supplice, humanism’s dialectic is itself a primary form of torture. Working inside the circuitry of thesis-antithesis, self-other, the poems collected here answer ‘no’ to Keats’s questions in ‘Ode on a Grecian Urn,’ confessing ‘that truth / is beauty isn’t true.’ In a world become word, ‘the eternal present eternally fails / to be trapped,’ and our poet-pilgrim is bound by dueling via negativa that chart the passage of d’ailleurs or elsewhere, where he finds history has located meaning’s trajectory. A not-ready-for-remnant-sonnet sequence as chilling as it is tutelary.”
—Claudia Keelan, final judge, 2014 Colorado Prize for Poetry
“The city on a hill is at war again, and this time not only with love. Cotler’s terse lyrics of desire—‘the anatomies of elsewhere’—enact a baroque masque against backdrops of conflagrating violence. This is a difficult, encrusting lyricism, as of looted jewels.”
—G. C. Waldrep
Winner of the 2014 Colorado Prize for Poetry, Supplice is the second installment in T. Zachary Cotler’s sonnet sequence that began with Sonnets to the Humans. These are amatory sonnets, but with love and rhyme tortured into broken and boneset textures. Supplice herself, the dark lady of these poems, is difficult to pin down with an epithet. Is she the angel of reality, banality, popular culture, pornography, uncertainty, or economic and environmental crisis? She has something to do with the history of cruelty and pain, with the devaluation of traditional ideas of beauty, and with the silence and science that have replaced divinity.