Imperial Nostalgias

Poetry. IMPERIAL NOSTALGIAS is the second collection by poet and translator Joshua Edwards. Written in Mexico, China, Germany, Nicaragua, and during a train trip around the U.S. and Canada, the book reckons with itinerancy, innocence, and American privilege, while pointing toward a strange horizon.

"'Through a turnstile, past a diorama / of ruins, into the ruins themselves,' Joshua Edwards escorts us into the desert of the real in his haunting and prismatic second collection, IMPERIAL NOSTALGIAS. Deepening the archaeological excavation—or is it a salvage operation?—of his first book, CAMPECHE, Edwards brushes the dust from the remains of history, desire, and nostalgia itself, to reveal 'ruins as diorama, ruins as sculpture, / birds as music boxes. Everything / moves toward metaphor and dream.' A breathtaking cascade of parables, images, lyrics, and aphorisms, IMPERIAL NOSTALGIAS is necessary work, and required reading for anyone who has felt the cold undertow beneath all beauty. 'Life,' writes this poet, 'is terrible enough without swans.'"—Srikanth Reddy

Symbolic gestures feel
bound not by referential expression,

but by mystery and drama. If all
languages are essentially alike,
then softness or firmness is a matter
of tissues in which blood takes a clausal

complement. Taste for etymology,
however, comes from the poetry of
crucial decision making, fruit in one

hand and broad-bladed knife in the other.


Joshua Edwards directs and co-edits Canarium Books. He's the author of CAMPECHE (Noemi Press, 2011; with photographs by his father, Van Edwards) and the translator of Mexican poet María Baranda's FICTICIA (Shearsman Books, 2010). Currently a fellow at the Akademie Schloss Solitude, he divides his time between Stuttgart, Germany, and Marfa, Texas, with his wife, Lynn Xu.