Other Romes amasses an eclectic range of influences—Fellini films, eating contests, Jesuit poetry, jetliners—to confront the awkward but inevitable relationship between our personal narratives and the larger public sphere. And like Rome, the city haunting so much of this work, Mong refuses to settle for any one voice or tone. Restrained at times as a Latin odist, or expansive as Whitman, these poems take erotic love and in-flight disaster through a range of formal choices: subtle, fissuring syllabics, strict sestinas, free verse, and more. The end result is a collection which, David Baker notes, demonstrates that “the privacy of the lyric world is part and parcel with the communal imagination.”
Other Romes was published by Saturnalia Books in February of 2011. Saturnalia is distributed by the University Press of New England. You can purchase a copy of Other Romes at Amazon or directly from the distributor. Or you can contact your local bookseller, who will gladly order you a copy.
Poems from Other Romes include “Speculation,” “A-Fib,” and “O h i o—” which also appeared in the anthology Breathe: 101 Contemporary Odes (C & R Press 2009, eds. Ryan G. Van Cleave and Chad Prevost). All of these poems can be found on this website. Additional poems from Other Romes have appeared in The Hecht Prize Anthology (Waywiser Press 2011, ed. Joseph Harrison) and in Love Rise Us: Poems of Social Justice, Protest, and Hope (Benu Press 2012, eds. Steve Fellner and Phil Young).
“He is, in my opinion, one of the rare talents: a poet whose gift for creating invigorating verbal effects through juxtaposition and enjambment is underpinned by a philosophical mind and an instinct not to take himself too seriously.”
—Eleanor Goodman, Cerise Press
“’Other Romes’ is a fun, thoughtful, and very much recommended collection of verse.”
—Midwest Book Review
“Three of Fellini’s films — Roma, Satyricon, and Nights of Cabiria — provide one of this collection’s structures, and there is something of Fellini to the book overall, something in its tonal sweep, from Propertian restraint to a Ginsberg-like wildness, and in the way in which the poet refuses a narrowness of scope, both in terms of subject matter and of psychology, allowing Latin hymns to be in weird conversation with a bratwurst eating competition. It shouldn’t work, and yet the sensibility behind these poems engages with each reading.” — Carl Phillips
“Austerity and extravagance: but for the evidence of this beautiful book, one would have thought the marriage doomed to fail. From Latin masters, Derek Mong has learned the art of impeccable understatement: the just phrase justly turned, which simultaneously breaks one’s heart and fills it with astonishment. From later masters, he has learned the art of flight. But in this, he does his masters one better, for Mong’s most fluid, capacious imaginings never lapse toward self-indulgence. Not once. His art, and his sensibility, are simply too mature for that. I am immensely heartened by so masterful, so mindful, a debut.” — Linda Gregerson