Earth Room

Earth Room
By Rachel Mannheimer
Publication date: April 1, 2022
ISBN# 978-1-955125-10-9 (5x7 100pp, paperback)

Preorder Now

Selected by Nobel Laureate Louise Glück as Winner of the inaugural Bergman Prize, Rachel Mannheimer’s debut, Earth Room, is a dazzling book-length narrative poem that explores with tenderness how art and love intersect to make one’s life. Transporting the reader across decades and from the Moon to Mars by way of Alaska, Berlin, and the Hudson Valley, Earth Room considers a lineage of sculpture, performance, and land art—from Robert Smithson to Pina Bausch—with observations shaped by gender and environment, history and portents of apocalypse. With an urgent, direct, and unmistakably powerful voice, Mannheimer tests the line between nature and culture, ordinary life and performance.

A work of sly wit and bracing sincerity, Earth Room is an original, unsparing book that Louise Glück calls “a lesson in how to make something of where we find ourselves.”

RACHEL MANNHEIMER was born and raised in Anchorage, Alaska, and lives in New Haven, Connecticut, where she works as a literary scout and as a senior editor for The Yale Review. This is her first book.


Advance Praise for Earth Room

“How many voices can sustain an entire book length poem? I think of Claudia Rankine and Maggie Nelson. And here, Mannheimer, as she thinks aloud on the page with her supple, discerning intelligence. This is that rare work that is both profoundly alert to its historical moment and also, in the questions it entertains and the magnitude of its intent, timeless. It seems to me a lesson in how to make something of where we find ourselves.”
Louise Glück, author of Faithful and Virtuous Night

“Multiple readings of Rachel Mannheimer’s thoroughly fresh debut reward and fascinate like multiple visits to Walter De Maria’s eponymous “Earth Room” installation. This book is a charismatic travelogue for our interior and exterior landscapes; it’s a conceptual art catalog with a poet’s notes written in the margins; it’s a one-act play of engrossing verbal theater. The stupendous Earth Room makes language a place. It’s roomy, it’s personal, it’s every day.”
Terrance Hayes, author of American Sonnets for My Past and Future Assassin

“Rachel Mannheimer’s Earth Room is something uncanny. Behold the odd charge in the atmosphere: one minute, your attention is carried forth by the poems’ deftly calibrated details and riveting textures of thought; the next, you’re inexplicably bereft, left with some dense, lush grief lodged inside of you. It’s a feat the poems pull off, again and again: making traces of meaning felt, while leaving much of it unseen. Arrestingly peripatetic, Earth Room registers the body traversing and impressing upon the dense edges of psychic, physical, and imagined landscapes. And at each waystation and geographic marking, the pleasures of Mannheimer’s warm, animating intelligence and its insistent claim on life’s blurriness and opacity. Earth Room is a wholly singular and lambent collection, made perfectly strange.”
Jenny Xie, author of Eye Level

“To describe Rachel Mannheimer’s elegant, elegiac, and stunning Earth Room, I need to borrow the words an astronaut used to convey his first impression of the moon: ‘magnificent desolation.’ This is an intimate, understated, lunar-lit work of agonized earthen dispossession in which Mannheimer, in community, in grief, in love, and in solitude, acknowledges the very fine eroding line between art and life, and dares not only to cross it, but to do so with abandon. There is nowhere in this vertiginous work, as it takes us to memorials, galleries, performances, parks, guestrooms, seascapes, and cemeteries, in which the unbearable scale of human atrocity is not palpably encountered in ‘direct, tactile intimacy,’ and moreover, the magnificent desolation uttered in this haunted earth room is a wholly original confessional-ekphrastic undertaking that brings artifice and reality so close they speak with a single crystalline voice—Mannheimer’s. This is an extraordinary book.”
Robyn Schiff, author of A Woman of Property