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Elisabeth Workman

June 2014
Trade Paper Original
ISBN: 978-0-9826587-6-5
100 pp. | $16.00


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Once upon a time, ancient glaciers oozed light through the general living room of America, scraping the terrain into the sweeping prairies of the Midwest, a superlatively grassy expanse in which American bison cavorted with dangerous electric fish-goats and no one got hurt. That was a long time ago. Then one day we woke up and it was everywhere: Ultramegaprairieland.

Referentially crammed and brimming with cultural bling, the poems in Ultramegaprairieland range from forlorn to flipped out, citing and subverting far-flung sources high, holy, and WTF.

"I wrote all of the poems after moving back to the Midwest from the Middle East," explains Workman. "They are all somehow symptomatic of my inability to adjust, not to the Midwest per se, but just in general. Surviving the Midwest is all about juxtaposition."


• Landscape with Porn Stars
• Yeti with Nihilists by a Fountain
• Probably the Song of the Unemployed Sith Lord
• Empathetic Jellyfish
• Bullets Built by Dad
• Other Cute Animals of the Big Prairies
• The Canadian Tuxedo in the Age of Mechanical Reproduction

…and many more!

Elisabeth Workman was born and raised in the pharmaceutical suburbs of Philadelphia and has since lived in Boston, rural Pennsylvania, the Netherlands, Qatar, on/around the Standing Rock Nation of the Dakotas, and now in Minneapolis, where she lives with the designer/typographer Erik Brandt, their daughter, and two cats of the tuxedo variety. She is the author of numerous chapbooks, including Opolis (Dusie), with Michael Sikkema Terrorsim Is What Whale (Grey Book Press), and ANY RIP A THRESHOLD (Shirt Pocket Press). This is her first book-length collection.

Cover design: Erik Brandt
Cover photo: Phillip Bologna

Sample poems from Ultramegaprairieland:

Two poems in Diode

Video for Cant Magazine

One poem at Boo Journal

PRAISE FOR Ultramegaprairieland

Ultramegaprairieland reads like a brilliant psychic survival manual; it speaks to the disruptive excess of lateness with an at once surreal and somehow familiar, beautifully constellated image repertoire. These poems envelop a play of fractures, figments of reason, history, authority, other unbelievable surface unities, a hypnotic vision of the Pseudo-Self in its nest of cultural debris that perhaps only a poetry this alert and sophisticated can sing of.

—Benjamin Bourlier

Though deeply subjective and instinctual, Ultramegaprairieland’s mercurial poems feel surprisingly universal and welcoming—a safe place in which to brace ourselves against the onslaught of fritzing technology, towers of plastic crap, dead animals, dying land, and our society’s terrifying delusions of invincibility. The poems feel like good news: we’re alive, and can’t help but want to stay that way. It may get ugly, but it already is.

—Jennifer L. Knox

This is your book, reader, in moments of faltering joie de vivre; this is your book, poet, in moments of faltering ingenuity; this is your book, rabble-rouser, in moments of faltering rouse. This book is you, you: a roiling surface with a sky blue center serenely untouched. This a most ungrim grimoire. This is where to sit at a disaster. This is the motherf*&%ing thunderbitch.

—Sharon Mesmer

Can something be incredibly stoopid and incredibly beautiful at the same time? Of course it can, it’s called life. But Elisabeth Workman’s exuberantly brain-being-eaten-by-larvae poems in Ultramegaprairieland capture the exact moment when stoopid beguiles the heart, transforming our stunned disbelief at the meaningless vacuity of everything in the United States of Duh, Wha Hoppen? into a revelatory hush.

—K. Silem Mohammad


The ultra is a droid, the mega is a church, the prairie is a parking lot. In her guidebook to wanderlust and manifest destiny, Elisabeth Workman toys with making a western, but decides to make a Revlon commercial instead. The landscape—or is it a set?—is littered with Chick-Fil-As, jellyfish spaceships, and Big Gulp geysers. The soundscape is full of sort ofs, sucks, and sorries. Workman is “speaking as an American ho ho ho,” which means she’s Santa Claus or Vincent Price or Chuck Norris, except when she’s Joan of Arc or a unicorn or the internet. The sheer number of proper nouns in this book, doused in the gasoline of the Anthropocene, will make you suddenly hungry to buy or eat them.

—Becca Klaver

By hacking or modifying obsolete poetry platforms to throw only gutter balls and “fatheads,” Elisabeth Workman erects a melancholy wall of “ghostly pinkness” and “gypsy grammars.” I would follow her pied songs anywhere—even into my own miserable room—and they often do lead, as I had hoped, to “a warehouse where the gryphon will pee.” “Maybe Malibu, Maybe Beowulf” is, by the way, one of the coolest poems ever written about Los Angeles. Don’t take my word for it. Find out what a game cartridge hack sounds like when it turns into words.

—Daniel Tiffany