inter arma

2013 Ottoline Prize
pub date: 04/22/2013
paperback isbn: 9781934200681
paperback: $15.95

This debut collection takes its title from a maxim of Cicero’s that, translated loosely as “In times of war the law falls silent,” has been effective in recent discourse around the erosion of citizens’ rights. Riffing on military chants, propulsive rhythms whereby submission and domination are inculcated, Lauren Shufran’s allusive, classically informed poems explore analogies of terrorism and homosexuality in the context of our militarized media, our mediated military wherein heroes and villains are sodomized and lionized, penetrated and perpetuated.

“Lauren Shufran’s meter-making argument stings with lucid blows bent to send the line aquiver. Weaponized with duck soup and chicken rimes (a baker’s dozen haptic hexes of heptameter), Inter Arma is the neo-classical nude formalism that the times demand. With searing wit and virtuous elan, Shufran’s epic lyrics hit homers every time.” —Charles Bernstein