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The Disordered Alphabet

Four Way Books

Featured on Poets & Writers’ Ten Questions series

Cintia Santana’s virtuoso debut collection, The Disordered Alphabet, reckons with the emotional anarchy of our lives, baring the difficulty of wrestling experience into language. She surveys a cosmic crossroads, “the sluices of heaven wording as we [stand] in that great rushing wind within, yet without name, turning.” These poems pay homage to inherited forms while fashioning their own shapes — Santana writes in alliterative verse, in footnotes, in epistles to consonants and vowels, in ekphrasis, in thrall. Ranging from A to Z in style, subject, and mood, Santana’s poetic encyclopedia chronicles life’s ubiquitous elegies alongside the world’s innumerable wonders — true to jumbled experience, they arrive in no particular order, or in the particular order of all the time and all at once. If “let there be” enabled light, it released every other sublime liquid, for then also “there was lie. // Lapse. And lake. Luck and leap. Little by little. Letter by letter. And it was late. / And there was bloom.”


In her, it.
It, in her.
tary she

heard it said.
Or somewhere
read. Her hair.
Her thinning

hair. Her hear-
ing, poor. Her
heir. She was.
In her was

her. In there.
The air a-
round her, her
air also.

Mother. Moth
to light. To
air. She, too.
She. Two.