Praise for Empire

“Empire sings in art and truth. It celebrates and mourns in ways both beautiful and sublime.”

—Michael Kleber-Diggs, author Worldly Things, winner of the Max Ritvo Poetry Prize


“James Armstrong’s new collection Empire is a lacerating interrogation of a nation obsessed with violence, cruelty, and war. . . . . . the prophetic voice in this book singes and soars, yet also ultimately leaves room for hope.”

—Melissa Range, author of Scriptorium, winner of the 2015 National Poetry Series


“Many of the poems in Empire wrestle with the tragic and criminal difficulties of our times, war after war, politics, the pandemic, the attack on 9-11, and Armstrong's passionate intelligence and unfailing moral compass give these poems great power. This is a brilliant, indispensable collection.”

—Connie Wanek, Author of Rival Gardens: New and Selected Poems and Consider the Lilies: Mrs. God Poems


“It’s a special talent to be both photographically exact and wildly imaginative at once, and surely Armstrong possesses that talent . . . his heart is a furious engine in political poems which are trenchant and angry and grievous jeremiads about how his country has disappointed him . . .”

—Albert Goldbarth, author of Other Worlds and two-time winner of the National Book Critics Circle Award


“Filled with poems of beauty and brash love for the planet’s smallest gifts, Empire also lays bare truths of our oldest plagues. . .each priceless moment wavers on the rim of loss. With unblinking candor, the author positions us in that true precariousness; then quietly offers: ‘Let a poet transmit your dream.’”

—Kimberly Blaeser, author of Copper Yearning,Wisconsin Poet Laureate 2015-16