Wendy Babiak's Conspiracy of Leaves feels like a mixtape made by a dear friend who wants to stir up your endorphins but also challenge you to think. Her poems are at once deeply personal and resolutely political, direct and ornate, conversant in the language of science but unafraid of the spiritual and ecstatic. She'll teach your brain myriad new ways to juggle.
Author of Circulation
Conspiracy of Leaves leads us along the trajectory of a deeply feminine poetics, the kind that writes "pen in my left hand and rolling pin in my right," speaking "beatnik beatitudes" with a welcome herb-garden-variety skepticism unafraid of spinning utopias. Babiak sings: "if I were a dragon I would dress in drag" and "Death comes to call and I'm all out of cookies" and "I wish I could sew us a few pairs of wings."
Delighted, we at once put our trust in the wise, hilarious, sophisticated magic of this voice. It is a voice capable of imagining itself absolutely anywhere, starting from the fertile dirt floor of creation's kitchen and springing up into an astronaut's-eye view. Hooting, tearing up, and vibing along with Babiak's tale, I can't wait to see where she takes us next. Her courage and range are so human, they're infinite.
Author of Stars of the Night Commute
Wendy Babiak wipes everyday landscapes down with quirky, kaleidoscopic rags "pieced together from the brightest and the darkest bits" of the world's beliefs. In the same breath she writes Chronos as an impatient waiter, a dragon as her pocket companion, Buddha's disciples at a get-Nirvana-quick seminar, and a Jesus-less Mary and Joseph in New Orleans. She weaves these archetypal, oft-bloody stories into rhythmic free-verse & rondeau & tour-de-force sestina-sonnet hybrid, headily mining their imagery and calling them out on their bull. Conspiracy of Leaves rattles with the variety of a redeemed, joyous Pandora's box at whose bottom the hope Babiak offers shines with all the hues of "the diaphanous nature of matter." You won't want to miss this dance of molecule with meter; like me, you might sway along.
Author of Slaves to Do These Things
and forthcoming, I Want to Make You Safe