Random Exorcisms

price:  $17.95
isbn:  978-0-8071-6371-9
pages:  78

“Adrian C. Louis’s new collection, Random Exorcisms, is a testament to his singular vision and mastery of verse. These thoughtful and always-surprising narratives question the ever-present machinery of our time—social media and cable television, malleable definitions of race, aging, and the ways memory gets refracted inside of it all. In these poems, the unpredictable lyricism that has been a hallmark of Louis’s poetry for over 40 years directs us to examine our relationship with mortality and memory in this difficultly-modern world. His speaker in “Re: Infection,” sums up our contemporary condition with hard-earned clarity: “Once, we were in love & lived / in fireweeds at the bottom / of a big rock candy mountain, / but mangy coyotes of poverty / constantly ransacked our hearts / & one day I woke up alone & infirm.” In the end, Random Exorcisms makes clear that we need a more active communal memory, a more honest awareness of technology and history in order to find our way through these splintered and aging American landscapes.”   —Adrian Matejka

“Adrian C. Louis is profane, angry, and deep in love with this sad-ass world. He is the reason why I started to write poems. And he is one of the poets that I constantly re-read. He is one of my personal prophets.” — Sherman Alexie

“When I hear the name Adrian C. Louis I feel like the ground moves a bit, the shadows we invented in these Americas grow darker, the morning light becomes real as a needle dropped in a schoolyard. In fact all those things happen when you are lucky enough to be standing in front of art that matters, poems that pull all your organs out and name them like Adam naming the animals. Louis is a poet we can all be afraid of because his truth is our truth and that kind of thing is scary.” — Matthew Dickman


In his latest collection, Random Exorcisms, Adrian C. Louis writes poems with the rough-edged wit and heart-wrenching sincerity that have made him one of the seminal voices in contemporary American poetry.  Deeply rooted in Native American traditions and folklore, these poems tackle a broad range of subjects, including Facebook, zombies, horror movies, petty grievances, real grief, and pure political outrage. In a style entirely his own, Louis writes hilarious, genuine, self-deprecating poems that expel a great many demons, including any sense of isolation a reader might feel facing a harsh and lonely world.

In the poem “Necessary Exorcism,” the speaker exorcises himself, more or less, of his grief for his deceased wife. “I made my choice so easily & picked red drama, the joyous pain of it all,” he writes. “Minor Exorcism: 1984” is one of a series of poems that contemplates the memories of small, simple mundanes, like catching a fish, until, “My old heart is thrashing with / long-forgotten boyhood joy.” “Dog the Bounty Hunter Blogs” exorcises some of the cruel absurdities of reality TV, while “Naked, Midnight, Sober, Facebooking” expels a great many fearful things, including the fear of growing older. These are poems that make you laugh and cry, nod appreciatively, and then laugh just a little more.

About Adrian C. Louis

Adrian C. Louis was born and raised in northern Nevada and is an enrolled member of the Lovelock Paiute Tribe. He is a graduate of Brown University where he also earned a Master’s Degree in Creative Writing. From 1984-97, Louis taught at Oglala Lakota College on the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota. Prior to that, he edited four Native newspapers including The Lakota Times and later Indian Country Today and was a co-founder of the Native American Journalists Association.

Louis was Professor of English at the Minnesota State University in Marshall from 1999 to his retirement in 2014. He has written ten books of poems, including Logorrhea, which was a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize, along with two works of fiction: Wild Indians & Other Creatures, short stories, and Skins, a novel. Skins was produced as a feature film directed by Chris Eyre. It premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and had its theatrical release in 2002.