Stunning poems of obsession, loss, and the desire for a renewed self, from the award-winning poet

“I thought I had left behind the darkness / of the heart,” Arvio confesses in the poem “Small War.” The love Arvio traces in these pages is indeed a battle, one in which the best-laid plans are shattered. Rarely has a poet tackled intimate love with so much invention and bravery.
In poem after poem, we meet the troubling lover whose nearness and force undoes her. There are moments of reprieve: “my naked body and budding pleasure / in the weather of your presence. / Not whether your presence but how.” The voice is vulnerable, self-knowing, often funny; the poet seems to be writing these poems to save herself from a devastating passion. Her weapons are a cascade of brash, freely spoken lines and a powerful command of metaphor, wielded in a search for meaning and understanding.
These breathtaking love poems make the collection Arvio’s most universal to date.
"Sarah Arvio's Cry Back My Sea is a performance in the language of heartbreak and longing. . . Using nothing but words, Arvio sends out ripples of sounds and connotations that build up and pare down meaning into waves of sense and sensation. . . The swelling of words crests, and the foam left on the surface sounds like a foreign language that, as it turns out, you understand fluently. . . These poems are a tour through the semantics of someone else's mind, masterfully crafted by the poet to require just enough translation to conjure not just the satisfaction of surprise, but the intimacy of discovery that goes along with love and heartbreak." —Vanessa Loh, Shining Rock Poetry

“These poems are an ode to the heart . . . The intimate love described is at times all desire and physical affection, until it becomes disconnection or violence, with an underlying theme of control over a woman . . . Arvio’s voice is witty and wise, candid and calculated. Although the poems can read like streams of consciousness, each is distinct, worthy, and shaped with skill and inventiveness.” —Janet St. John, Booklist

“[A] truly original work of art . . . In her use of language, Arvio is among the most luminous and engaging poets of her generation. Even when dealing with a question as terrible as abandonment—the most terrible of all—the light never abandons the song, with its counterpoints and variations.” —Alejandro Oliveros, Prodavinci