In Auction, her first poetry collection in eight years, the poet, novelist, and playwright Quan Barry travels the globe in her signature quest into the existential nature of experience. These poems explore the inner landscapes of both the human and animal realms, revealing them to be points along the same spectrum. At the heart of the book lies an extended study of toxic storytelling as an element of warcraft, but Barry also contemplates the death of a Buddhist master, the plight of migrants both at home and abroad, the ethics of travel and consumption, and the larger question of how and why we construct a self in order to navigate the world.
Quan Barry is the Lorraine Hansberry Professor of English at the University of Wisconsin–Madison. Born in Saigon and raised on Boston’s north shore, Barry is the author of seven books of fiction and poetry, including the novel When I’m Gone, Look for Me in the East. She is one of a select group of writers to receive National Endowment for the Arts fellowships in both poetry and fiction. In 2021 her novel We Ride Upon Sticks was awarded the American Library Association’s Alex Award. Barry’s first play production, The Mytilenean Debate, premiered in spring 2022. She is currently Forward Theater’s first ever writer-in-residence.