The Tranquilized Tongue

The Tranquilized Tongue
City Lights Spotlight No. 11

Press Reviews

Colorado Review

"The poems in Eric Baus's stunning fourth collection are best described as studies in scale … The reader becomes a collaborator, a co-conspirator. And it is the book’s minimalist approach that makes this refreshing, and in many ways, egalitarian relationship between the artist and his audience possible. In short, The Tranquilized Tongue is as thought-provoking as it is beautifully rendered. This is a fine addition to Baus’s already accomplished and innovative body of work."––Kristina Marie Darling

Universal Hubbub

"[I]nstead of teaching us the meanings of words, these poems work 'to loosen some of your habitual patterns of reception,' as Baus has said in another context. 'The tranquilized tongue renamed its aphasia': as we spend time with these poems, we relinquish our search for paraphrasable meaning and attend instead to the extremities of voice: not to concepts, but to how concepts shift and change; to how language cries and growls and moans and sings."


"Eric Baus's fourth book, is his best yet … Made as much of matter as of sound, [the poems are] an acoustical chamber where words, sounds, letters and images are constantly emerging, intermingling, echoing, and changing into other words, sounds, letters and images … This is a world of unpredictable and miraculous change, a world that is simultaneously philosophical and alchemical, an inseparable mixture of factual propositions and flights of fancy … Whereas Saussure believed that linguistic signs were immaterial, Baus posits that words are living beings."––John Yau, Hyperallergic

Poetry Magazine's Harriet Blog

"Eric Baus has always been a seering poet, creating language that means sound as much as it means anything, creating nothing out of anything and everything and vice versa. These poems start ringing through the glass of themselves as soon as you open the book and feel like the words of a tongue that has been tranquilized and is speaking to say why. A poem like 'The Molting Mouth' reads 'The word glass. / The word hand. / The word milk. / The word mirror.' In these four lines we are forced to see that a glass becomes a mirror only because we command it to, that we see our own reflection in poems only because the poet is kind enough, or cares enough, to command it to."–Dorothea Lasky, Poetry Magazine's Harriet Blog

The Small Press Book Review

"Extending his ongoing book-length exploration of the prose poem, there aren't many poets who work the abstract book-length fragment in the way that Baus does, or so well, managing an anchor of concrete sentences that somehow accumulate into something larger and far more nebulous … Through short, dense poems, Baus manages to utilize each sentence as a single point, accumulating those points into a far larger shape, one as much created by Baus as by each reader's experience." –Rob McLennan, The Small Press Book Review