Ox: Visual Micropoems by Ryan Ridge


Visual Micropoems
by Ryan Ridge

Using mostly two letters and a handful of glyphs, the micropoems in Ryan Ridge’s Ox are more than an experiment in minimalism: They are a story that takes on a life of its own—the life of Ox, a creature of two letters who manages between birth and death to watch porn, take up boxing, become a doctor, go to Hollywood, get in trouble with the FBI, and transcend beyond his own self, all while keeping within a tiny frame of space. Too clever to be strapped into any harness, Ridge’s signature oddball style meets a hybrid margin between poetics and storytelling that both defies and defines genre. The reader is steered into a micro memoir where the visual expanses and spatial mapping are as intricate as any metered verse, repeating its own rhythm until the effect of two small letters becomes nearly hallucinogenic.


“In the beginning, there was OX. If not the animal, then the elemental circle and cross: our earliest typographical fusion of language and physical technology—and perhaps the stuff of civilization itself. After all, what would a wheel be without its spokes, and where would we be without either? In Ox, Ryan Ridge puts this storied rubber to the road and arrives by way of Aram Saroyan’s adventures in minimalism at some seriously delightful poems. From tic-tac-toe to Paul Bunyan’s bummed-out beast of burden, Ox takes us through the lifecycle of language—birth to death to resurrection—and proves that if the goal of poetry is to infuse every word with its atomic weight, then Ridge’s work here is downright nucleic.”
—Adam O. Davis,
author of Index of Haunted Houses

Ox is concrete poetry as only Ryan Ridge could give us. Part Oulipian antic, part hero’s journey, these spare, inventive, wacky permutations are pure chef’s x.”
—Kristen Renee Miller,
translator of Spawn

“Using only two letters, Ryan Ridge demonstrates how the spatial dimension of poetry connects emotionally to readers with the same tenacity as rhythm, rhyme, and diction. Uh, that’s fucking nuts. Each poem feels as if it entered the world fully formed.”
—Jennifer L. Knox,
author of Crushing It

“On the page, Ryan Ridge is pure pleasure—a perpetual-motion machine of poems that you see rather than read. His new book is an unmuzzled ox that recalls the minimalist poetry of Aram Saroyan, freshly retooled for the 21st century. Recommended!”
—Mike Topp,
author of 29 Mini-Essays

“Ryan Ridge’s Ox follows the same path paved by Aram Saroyan. However, instead of lighght, Ridge gives us a character named Ox, who, among other things, gets ghosted, dresses up for Halloween, and wins the big game. Ox is more proof that Ridge is one of the most inventive, playfully weird minds writing today.”
—Noah Falck,
author of Exclusions

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• Micropoems | Visual Art Text | Minimalism | Experimental
• 4” x 6” Perfectbound Trade Paperback
• Little Pigeon Series Chapbook
• Cream Paper, 78 Pages
• Paperback ISBN-13: 978-1-946580-30-6
• Paperback ISBN-10: 1-946580-30-9
• First Reprint Edition: November 30, 2021
• Short URL: tinyurl.com/oxridge
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Cover design by Leah Angstman, with ox artwork by 愚木混株 at CDD20.

RYAN RIDGE is the author of four chapbooks as well as five books, including most recently the story collection New Bad News (Sarabande Books, 2020). He has received the Italo Calvino Prize in Fabulist Fiction, the Linda Bruckheimer Prize in Kentucky Literature, and the Kentucky Writers Fellowship for Innovative Writing from the Baltic Writing Residency. His work has been featured in American Book ReviewDenver QuarterlyPassages NorthPost RoadSalt HillSanta Monica Review, and Southwest Review, among other outlets. A graduate of the University of Louisville and the MFA Programs in Writing at UC Irvine, he is an assistant professor at Weber State University in Ogden, Utah, where he codirects the Creative Writing Program. In addition to his work as a writer and teacher, he edits the literary magazine Juked. He lives in Salt Lake City with the writer Ashley Farmer and plays bass in the Snarlin’ Yarns.

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