Poetry | $17.95
paperback, 96 pages, 8 x 7 in
Publication Date: 2015
ISBN: 978-1-937658-35-9

*Winner of the San Francisco Poetry Center Book Award

Orlando White’s second book of poetry deals with the origins and power of the typographical sign.

LETTERRS is a book of poems that examines and interrogates language to its core, the shapes and sounds. In these poems Orlando White explores the origins and existence of letters, words, typography, the white space of the page, and their philosophical values to the writer/reader.

Even if “objects / contribute for them,” as Orlando White notes, the letters of language constitute the signal human mark. It is by “letter conductivity” that we have inscribed a long history of ourselves. In combinations of ekphrasis, meditation, and imaginative play, Orlando opens his poetic field to the typographical sign. As a Diné of the Naaneesht’ézhi Tábaahí, he initiates a poetic trajectory in this, his second remarkable book, that cuts across the roots of what we call American culture when, for instance, he asks “how does a letter become another when its origin is lost?” LETTERRS is his complex ars poetica, a book of love poems to the grapheme and “its outbreak of silence.” But it is also a provocative and systemic reorientation of language toward ritual, toward “bone-shaped artifacts,” and the “notochord of thought.” In LETTERRS, Orlando White situates the word at the unsettled beginning of human dialogue with the world.   — Forrest Gander

These poems arise from the fecundity and limits of language’s building blocks, living intimately inside each minute contour of the letter, where we find the collagen and cochlea of thought, the stuff of language arising from our very bones.  It is the matter whence we are made, and where we ossify, making “proofs of [our] own cultural sentience.” Language is playful and dangerous, and these poems know equally its pleasures and threats.  What White does, beautifully, is scrape at the bone of the word to unclothe it, uncolor it, make it naked and stand before us, vulnerable and new.   — Eleni Sikelianos

Orlando White’s second collection of poetry, LETTERRS, moves us across the fertile white of the page. When I read White’s work, I see the page pollinated. The letters, like stalks, rain down the fine pollen of linguistics, ignite the silks of sound that “breathe and coo.” We move through the furrows of letters in zigzag flagella and glottal stops. White’s book is a field ripe with semantics, sound, and silence.   — James Thomas Stevens


"LETTERRS reminds its readers of its own physicality and binary existence as meaning-making art and physical object, just as humans work within their own body/soul dynamic. LETTERRS is a strange, complex work that breaks open our given contemporary understanding of written communication and forces its readers to reconceptualise language’s whole shebang."—Franklin K R Cline, Wasafiri Journal of International Contemporary Writing