The Courier’s Archive & Hymnal

The Courier's Archive & Hymnal by Joshua Marie Wilkinson
6 in x 8 in
56 pages

Poetry by Joshua Marie Wilkinson

Book 3 of the No Volta pentology

“My phone’s gleam throws a little bastard net around the keyhole.

I want one thing handed over to me. An injured gull placed in newspaper on the tabletop.”

The Courier’s Archive & Hymnal navigates a purgatory made nearly pastoral by a necrotic vision of consumptive rivers, ghost mazes, corpsethieves, and stalkerish moons. With an exacting, halted diction, Joshua Marie Wilkinson swerves us deeper toward the source of this dark archive, stirring our courier to contemplate Basho, Beckett, Kafka, Matta-Clark in hope of materializing a “name for no becoming, stammering through wind.” The result is a hypnotizing meditation of mood, mind, perdition, and image. In other words, book three of Wilkinson's No Volta pentology picks up exactly where its predecessors Selenography and Swamp Isthmus leave off. That is to say, beyond the good myths, to a decidedly singular poetic territory “recasting the future freshly black.”

Cover art by Ryan McLennan

“These dream enclosures are constructed out of prose passages of the finest brushwork left by an artist whose inner-children have gone feral” Cold Front Magazine, 5-star review

“Wilkinson’s poems self-annotate and can be read as if they were notes in the margins of a screenplay, each page setting the scene anew. It is there, on that level, that the book works best: Positing re-reading as reinvention and letting every page, or even every line, allow itself to be opened, viewed, and examined in boundless ways.” —Scout Poetry

“Wilkinson posits wholeness—of a literary text, as well as narrative—as an illusion, a fantasy that holds allure because of our own fractured experience of the world around us.” —Kristina Marie Darling, Tupelo Quarterly

“The No Volta project is very much about him tearing apart, disassembling and reassembling how he constructs the poetic line, and not only honing his own craft, but altering it irrevocably.” —rob mclennan

“Wilkinson conjures a bewildering, unsettling landscape where one feels the ‘blindness of being partway down the stairs.’” Publishers Weekly

Joshua discusses The Courier’s Archive & Hymnal and his No Volta pentology with Poetry Society of America and Green Mountains Review

Previous praise for Swamp Isthmus and Selenography
(parts 1 and 2 of the No Volta pentology)

“Wilkinson is one of our essential contemporary poets, and Swamp Isthmus is among his essential works.” —Zach Savich, Kenyon Review

“These poems are not the decoder ring; they are the magnifying lens that helps us examine the code more closely.” —Julie Marie Wade, The Rumpus

“[Wilkinson] is laser-focused on the details of loss, fiction-focused on the rendition of a haze called past, but not desperately, airily, with the softness and detachment of person as lens.” —Ally Harris, Heavy Feather Review

“The book’s variety and inclusiveness, even with its carefully cultivated atmosphere, makes it meaningful beyond any speaker’s individual motivation. The poems feel at once constrained by their mood and freed by their piecemeal breadth.” —PJ Gallo, ColdFront, Top 40 Poetry Pick for 2013

“What Swamp Isthmus shows us is our inability to separate, to divide ourselves: we can’t forget the dead like a password, they’re not just underneath us. They’re attached to us and we’re transformed by our contact, even in our memory, with the so-called dead.” —Robert Alan Wendeborn, HTMLGiant

“In [Wilkinson’s] latest we are charting out the surface of Wilkinson’s thought, with all the attendant mystery and depth that the moon mythically implies. Just as the Renaissance writers found a nomenclature to attach to the rifts and ranges of the moon, the poet finds a common thread in words, however tenuous, connecting the peaks and craters of his thought.” —Sean Patrick Hill, Bookslut

“Wilkinson’s book is also proof that it is possible to create beautiful and affecting art in the attempt to record our fleeting world, even if that art is not indelible and can be as fragile as a Polaroid photograph, even if it doesn’t make the world indelible. Selenography is an example of such art: a perfect marriage between the visual and the written word.” —Kristin Abraham, New Pages


Joshua Marie Wilkinson (b. 1977, Seattle) is the author of Selenography (with Polaroids by Tim Rutili), Swamp IsthmusThe Courier’s Archive & Hymnal, and Meadow Slasher (all from Sidebrow Books and Black Ocean). With Solan Jensen, he directed a film about Califone, and he’s also edited five books of essays, poetry, conversation, and poetics. He lives in Tucson, where he edits The Volta, runs a small press called Letter Machine Editions, and teaches at the University of Arizona.

Sample Pages