Ritual and Bit by Robert Ostrom

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The landscape of Ritual and Bit is littered with the speaker’s past: empty 40s, old posters, family lies, and fragmented missives. Internal struggles play out in the detritus of long-ago. Yet even as the speaker attempts to cautiously map his movements, effect a survival, and navigate beyond his past, he faces emotional fissures wrought by the present. Throughout the book, he restlessly searches for ways to regain control of his life, partly through ceremonies, prayers, and devotions, and partly through lyrical force. The danger is palpable among wolves and claws, boxcutter and jackknife. There’s both caution here and a willingness to abandon caution if anything or anyone could be reached. The poems ask, What makes a home? What should we expect when we are so determined to live in a world where everything is disappearing?

About Robert Ostrom

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ROBERT OSTROM is the author of The Youngest Butcher in Illinois (2012). He teaches at New York City College of Technology and Columbia University, and lives in Ridgewood, New York.
Published March 15, 2016 by Saturnalia Books. 88 pages
Genres: Literature & Fiction. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Ritual and Bit

The Paris Review

TAGS A Bintel Brief, Alexia Arthurs, Are You Here for What I'm Here For, Brian Booker, contributors, Danielle Blau, Elif Batuman, fiction, Fred Moten, Han Kang, Issue 217, Liana Finck, Monica Youn, poetry, Rafil Kroll-Zaidi, reading, Recommended Reading, Renee Gladman, Ritual and Bit, Robert Ostr...

Nov 01 2016 | Read Full Review of Ritual and Bit


The scene opens with a chorus of women, then a chorus of men, then of some powers, and it all ends with a chorus of souls that have not lived yet but would very much like to live a little… Then suddenly the scene changes and some sort of “Festival of Life” begins, in which even insects sing, a tu...

Jul 20 2017 | Read Full Review of Ritual and Bit