ABOUT THIS BOOK
A poetry collection that playfully questions the meanings of words.
Walter Ancarrow’s collection Etymologies considers language as a process, rather than as a singular fixed history. These poems build imaginative worlds with a variety of creative word uses. They form a playful amalgamation of linguistic interpretations that flips and questions conventional narratives about word origins—including the idea that clear origins even exist. Throughout the collection, Ancarrow questions the intent of writers who use etymology in attempts to prove a specific meaning for any word. In so doing, Etymologies pays particular attention to relationships between the cultures and conflicts, the migrations and hegemonies, that create our words, and it considers how their meanings are furthered by us as we keep them alive through speech.
Etymologies won Omnidawn’s 2021 Open Poetry Book Prize, selected by John Yau.