The Little Door Slides Back Poems

Jeff Clark

Farrar, Straus and Giroux



Trade Paperback

112 Pages



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This collection of poems, which first appeared in 1997, quickly attained a cult-classic status among many readers, students, and practitioners of today's American poetry. As John Yau noted in Boston Review: "Clark integrates fin-de-siècle richness, hallucinatory vision, and a gothicism extracted from the bleak cul-de-sacs of postmodern life . . . [The poet we meet in these pages is] a flaneur who is both terrified and bemused by the world he enters as 'the little door slides back' . . . The image of the 'little door' captures the existential humor of Clark's persona, and the intersection of mystery and alienation from which he often writes . . . This volume is remarkable for its liveliness and intelligence, and I recommend it highly."


Praise for The Little Door Slides Back

"Clark's poems—which run through several genres, including the fable, the love letter, the chant, [and] the tercet . . . are devoted to the idea of possibility in the poet who operates as a free agent, looking to the weather not for the springs of dailiness but for some message from the aether."—Brian Kim Stefans, Arras

"Clark's poems . . . marry the stoned reveries of our postmodern era with the symbolist bliss of a previous one . . . In meticulously crafted verse and prose poems, The Little Door Slides Back offers the reader glimpses of a shadow world, seen by a visionary who has a clear strategy for depicting them."—Ruth Andrews, Rain Taxi

"A 120-page spell . . . This is a beautiful work whose accuracy edges on the uncanny. Within, among, and around it all is presence, an almost hallucinogenic immediacy in which everything is seen and is in turn seeing."—Cole Swenson, American Letters & Commentary

"Clark's poems are, in Timothy Donnelly's words, those of 'a real fin de millennium decadent' . . . It's language [that Clark] loves and assaults, language he will not let rest . . . Visiting Clarkish psycholinguistic territories, we're as liable to be terrified as lullabied . . . [This poet] makes of his idiosynchrony a happy sadomasochism, a luxuriance of prurience."—Heather McHugh, Boston Review

"The publishers . . . would have done well to issue this volume in bright yellow covers."—Chicago Review

"Thick, purring music."—Rhizome

Reviews from Goodreads



  • Jeff Clark

  • Jeff Clark was born in Southern California in 1971. His other books of poetry are Music and Suicide, Arab Rab, and Sun on 6. He lives in Oakland.