Opposable Thumb by Joe Elliot

Opposable Thumb by Joe Elliot

ISBN-13: 978-1930068346
Published 2006
Available at Amazon.com and SPDBooks.org

This is Joe Elliot’s second collection of pitch-perfect poems.


Opposable Thumb is essential reading. In these poems, Joe Elliot brings a whopping arsenal of technique to the table to create a sumptuous feast of meaning without equal signs or slashes…Here, song is thought. It all rings true. Essential the way mindfulness is essential. Enjoy the view

—Mitch Highfill

How has the world limped along for so long without Joe Elliot’s new book? If you want to relearn language, please read these poems, which release the kinetic potential of the page like toasters dropped into bathtubs

—Marcella Durand


A fixture on the New York poetry scene for more than 20 years, Elliot’s massively summative debut is as rigorous as it is loose, and casual as it is elegant. Each of these nearly 50 poems, grouped into four sections, progresses not so much by telling stories as describing several events, on a tiny scale, at once: “A Godzilla statuette steps/ crushing grey offices at the far// end of a bar. Next to it in a 3-piece/ suit a gratuitously rude// drunk sways, points his palm/ corder at a man who// is paid to expertly slice/ a variety of fish and smile// evenly.” Over the course of the book, Elliot’s speaker takes “a slow roll through Baltimore,” chooses a fork “In Orlando when the day of the dead finally arrived” and finds that “Super-model-dom is to dungarees as attitude is to thought.” But one-liners are not the point. As Elliot’s observations accrue, a portrait emerges of a singular consciousness driven by a wry, subtle, detective-like love for its time and place: “The sound of a trumpet being/ practiced two floors below. Pushing a cat-like presence aside/ to get at it.” (Dec.)
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About the Author

Joe Elliot lives in New York City.