The Cleavage Planes of Southwest Minerals [A Love Story]

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From “hardness” to “plush,” these poems are a vein of more-than-human insight. They are love songs to the mineral earth, yes, but their formal experimentation and their glancing confessions transform the work into something wholly new. I’ve never seen anything like these wild and constrained poems before, with their use of chemical abbreviations, bracketed speech and sheer range of knowing and locating. We form with them, these poems, altered as we read, becoming some kind of human-mineral hybrid. Which, as this wonderful book already knew, we already are.

— Christopher Cokinos, winner of a 2003 Whiting Award, 2016 winner of the New American Press Poetry Prize for The Underneath


Dombrowski’s previous work—The Book of Emergencies, The Philosophy of Unclean Things–already set the gold standard for craft. In this respect, The Cleavage Plains of Southwest Minerals [A Love Story] displays nothing new: the exquisite intuition for language and mechanics, a sensitivity for imagery, pivot and breath, the highly-refined instruments of a master in control. Rather, it’s the subject matter that’s different…The lover’s body become landscape—tasted, interpolated, geologically known…The grand experiment of America. This unique province of the West…To change with, become other or back to. To call that place home…The Cleavage Plains of Southwest Minerals: a poetic gem.

— Jake Friedman, the Virginia G. Piper Center for Creative Writing at ASU, founding Editor of Four Chambers Press


These minerals of poems, fractured and rearranged, remind me that the blood that flows through human bodies is akin to the minerals that wind through the veins of the earth…Here’s to Dombrowski’s alchemy!

— Eric Magrane, co-editor of The Sonoran Desert: A Literary Field Guide, editor of Spiral Orb