When Ilium Burns, by Tiffany Troy-Print Books-Bottlecap Press

When Ilium Burns, by Tiffany Troy

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Tiffany Troy
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Poetry, chapbook, 44 pages, from Bottlecap Features.

When Ilium Burns is a bildungsroman for anyone who ever dreamed big and loved someone more extraordinary than themselves.

In When Ilium Burns, protagonists ranging from the self-proclaimed 豐滿美女 (rotund Rubenesque) to 魯蛇 (braised snake) down life-affirming brekkies to prep for battle as Master’s right hand man. These sidekicks burn bright as Roman candles in their dreams of empire, which in turn, is a variation of the theme of the American Dream. In the process, they learn to talk the talk of corporate professional and find out that Ilium is not what it first appears to be.

"In Tiffany Troy’s vibrant chapbook, When Ilium Burns, classical references coalesce with the clutter, cacophony, and ‘million-dollar dreams’ of the modern world. Recurring characters like Master and Baby Tiger lend the work an aura of bureaucratic satire, of bristling absurdist comedy. In tune with the current soul-crushing American zeitgeist, the speakers in her poems are wary and perpetually on the lookout for the crass and the counterfeit. The highest compliment I can pay this whip-smart debut is that Tiffany Troy’s work brings to mind the irreverence and snap-crackle-pop allusiveness of Alan Dugan’s Pulitzer-Prize-winning first book. I can’t wait to read a whole volume of her poems!"

—Cyrus Cassells, author of The World That the Shooter Left Us

"Interwoven with Homeric narratives, Tiffany Troy crafts an epic landscape and cosmology of her own in When Illium Burns. The heroes of her poems are filled with desire, longing, doubt, fear, courage, and “million-dollar dreams” that represent the complexities of the human experience and what it means to be alive. The vivid cast of characters that form this cosmology (“Braised Snake,” “Master,” “The Friend,” “Nurse,” “Baby Tiger,” “Little Maria”) are at once both larger-than-life and intimately familiar in their rages and sorrows. The poetry collection deftly traverses boutique law offices, secondhand piano shops, courtrooms, the bottom of the sea, inviting us into its generous, kaleidoscopic imagination. “What for, this cruelty / as I touch the sphere under my neck / all swollen / with this mouth of mine?” Troy asks. The bright fire that illuminates the voices of her speakers and the poet herself is this very sphere, ballooning intensely throughout the collection and beyond its pages."

—Wendy Chen, author of Unearthings

"I had never realized, viscerally, the havoc at the heart of piety nor felt, on my own flesh, the loving burden borne by Aeneas as he carried his father away from the burning towers, until I read these new poems by Tiffany Troy. Here is a poet beautifully competent to love’s furor and to its enduring fidelities. There is a new kind of heroism here, and it is thrilling."

—Donald Revell, author of The English Boat

"'We abandoned our homeland for bigger dreams' laments the speaker of Tiffany Troy's chapbook, but the poetry here is made all the richer by the migratory quality of the text. What I enjoy most about this work is Troy's willingness to allow the poem to find its own form. This text is all the more surprising and remarkable by its ranginess and generous flexibility. It's a work you won't forget!"

—Kyle McCord, author of Reunion of the Good Weather Suicide Cult

Tiffany Troy is a critic, translator, and poet.