Watch Me Trick Ghosts

By Robert Krut

Subjects: Poetry
Imprint: Distribution Partners
Paperback : 9781949933130, 66 pages, November 2021

Strangers and spirits intersect between surreal city streets and tactile dreams in this fourth collection from the award-winning poet.


In Watch Me Trick Ghosts, Robert Krut reveals a city weaving between a surreal consciousnesses and concrete imagination, where speakers are fully aware that "the scars of the world are turning neon" ("Accidental Light"). Among them, spirits hide and appear in tree lines, behind bookcases, even "etching a name into a street sign pole with a knife" ("You Are the Street, You Are the Sleep"). These poems skillfully veer between lyrical moments of intimacy and urgent messages seemingly sent from the negative space surrounding a dream. It may be the case that "fear is a blade held in a lung" ("The Anxious Lever of Lowering Sky"), but in the quietest hours of night, strangers can connect through striking images that cast a spell.

Robert Krut is the author of The Now Dark Sky, Setting Us All on Fire (Codhill Press, 2019), which received the Codhill Poetry Award; This Is the Ocean (Bona Fide Books, 2013), which received the Melissa Lanitis Gregory Poetry Award; and The Spider Sermons (BlazeVox, 2009). His poetry has appeared widely, in Blackbird, The Cimarron Review, Gulf Coast, Passages North, Poetry Vinyl, and others. He lives in Los Angeles and teaches in the Writing Program and College of Creative Studies at the University of California, Santa Barbara.


"[Krut's] works are surreal, infused with a magic that is both gritty and delicate, even tender." β€” Noozhawk

"Robert Krut's poetry collection Watch Me Trick Ghosts offers an immersion into the sublime, enveloping the reader in a shroud of welcome terror. Fusing narratives of ordinary life with flashes of otherworldly awe, Krut's speaker serves as guide and protector while we venture down darkened streets, through empty buildings, and even into a forest grown out of grief. The lines of these poems haunt with remarkable clarity. "A Coffin is a Battery" states that, "Fine hairs of stray electricity twitch in wind," and "When you come looking, I am the wires." Whether through surreal imagery, or storylines lifted from our strangest dreams, Watch Me Trick Ghosts has a chill to rival the most ravishing Gothic novel, and the simmer of film noir. β€” Mary Biddinger, author of Department of Elegy

"Reading the wildly liminal, imagistically shimmery, and marvelously tricked-out poems in Robert Krut's Watch Me Trick Ghosts, I kept thinking (and maybe it's just meβ€”but no, it can't just be me) about Los Angeles with all its lights out, ghosts with weird haircuts, and the fact that the trick here is real magic, "sonic dust blowing" through a new kind of American deep image, where 'You are a heart, / which is different from saying / you are my heart or you have my / heart. It is saying that / you are a heart.' Did you see what just happened there? I'm not sure I did either. Maybe all of us are ghosts already, but certainly we will be some day, so consider this book necessary preparation in how not to be hoodwinked in the afterlife. Pick a card, any card. Burst into flames. These poems are the lights you've been waiting to walk into." β€” Matt Hart, author of Everything Breaking/For Good