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Watch Me Trick Ghosts is now available from Codhill Press, SUNY Press, and Amazon. Excerpts can be read here, here, and here.

Robert Krut’s poetry collection Watch Me Trick Ghosts offers an immersion into the sublime, enveloping the reader in a shroud of welcome terror. Fusing narratives of ordinary life with flashes of otherworldly awe, Krut’s speaker serves as guide and protector while we venture down darkened streets, through empty buildings, and even into a forest grown out of grief. The lines of these poems haunt with remarkable clarity. “A Coffin Is a Battery” states that, “Fine hairs of stray electricity twitch in wind,” and “When you come looking, I am the wires.” Whether through surreal imagery, or storylines lifted from our strangest dreams, Watch Me Trick Ghosts has a chill to rival the most ravishing Gothic novel, and the simmer of film noir.  --Mary Biddinger



Reading the wildly liminal, imagistically shimmery, and marvelously tricked-out poems in Robert Krut’s Watch Me Trick Ghosts, I kept thinking (and maybe it’s just me—but no, it can’t just be me) about Los Angeles with all its lights out, ghosts with weird haircuts, and the fact that the trick here is real magic, “sonic dust blowing” through a new kind of American deep image, where “You are a heart,/which is different from saying/you are my heart or you have my/heart.  It is saying that/you are a heart.”  Did you see what just happened there? I’m not sure I did either.  Maybe all of us are ghosts already, but certainly we will be some day, so consider this book necessary preparation in how not to be hoodwinked in the afterlife.  Pick a card, any card.  Burst into flames.  These poems are the lights you’ve been waiting to walk into... –Matt Hart

. . . we all have ghosts: ghosts from our pasts, ghosts of our futures, and ghosts of the inevitable things that occur in everyday life. Krut talks about exactly that in [Watch Me Trick Ghosts], a hauntingly alluring book about the grotesque aspects of the mundane. Pine Hills Review, Sam Zimmerman

And so, like a magic trick, Krut makes it feel strange all over again. The image of a man walking his poodle in “Give Up” is a “walking corpse.” A vein in “Gravity of Numbers'' is “an unplugged wire with frayed ends.” Drops of rain soaking a leaf in “The Branch'' are “a hundred shocked eyelids.” Surrealism is the tool of choice here; a lifelong Angeleno might be able to spy hints of the city in the glow of street lamps in “Tourniquet Road," or “the city’s finest amblers'' in “The Blood of Human Kindness," but just as soon as we begin to recognize the familiar, the scenes twist in on themselves, revealing the darkness within. In Krut’s hands, the mundane becomes the surreal, the ominous, and the horrifying, not in spite of their mundanity but because of it. Reading this collection often feels like staring at your hand for long until it no longer resembles a hand, until it is something alien and distorted and terrifying and yet trapped with you all the same. It is, then, a rather perfect representation of the cognitive estrangement quarantine inflicts, leaving us with nothing but the body our brains are attached to and the existential dread of the next day’s coming disaster.  Spectrum, Luc Le

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