Whatever Stasis, by Chris Tonelli


Whatever Stasis, by Chris Tonelli


Whatever StasisWhatever Stasis is Tonelli’s second collection of poetry, one that finds that “beautiful and worthy subjects / are everywhere / which is / out of reach.” Meditative, funny, at once searching and resigned, Tonelli shows us that “A poet / is the opposite / of god” in all the best slow and subtle ways.

Chris Tonelli works in the Libraries at NC State and co-owns So & So Books in Raleigh, NC, where he lives with his wife, Allison, and their two kids, Miles and Vera. He is a founding editor of the independent poetry press, Birds, LLC, and he curates the So & So Series and edits So & So Magazine. In addition to his first collection, The Trees Around (Birds, LLC), he is the author of five chapbooks.

Barrelhouse poetry editor Dan Brady says of Whatever Stasis, “This is actually the kind of poetry I love best - spare, philosophical, a bit funny, meditative, questioning. I feel like I could read each of these poems at any time on any given day and they would ring true in my mind, somewhere down deep inside.”


With precise statement and chiseled lines, Chris Tonelli's microtonal music speaks volumes. Whatever Stasis is a stunner as each poem unfolds syllable by syllable to depict an abstract interiority with lived reality.

Peter Gizzi, author of Archeophonics


"Every ornament/ is a decoy/ we set for ourselves,” and so Tonelli looks past poetic ornament towards the geometric sublime. We need this macrocosmic vision now. Like crystalline equations, Tonelli’s poems offer cool spots of pure contemplation, while their meaning burns like “a universe/ of suns” long after the reader leaves the page. Sharp, heartbreaking, and wise, Whatever Stasis is a gem full of light.

Molly Brodak, author of Bandit


Chris Tonelli's second book Whatever Stasis is a witty, alluring exploration of our most complex subjects - God, desire, family. These tightly wound poems are packed with honesty and, in the most musical way, reveal what we can't know.

Tyree Daye, author of River Hymns

Tonelli's poems have a way of reminding you of yourself, the way you felt when you were high for the first time on a friend's couch with your pinky finger working a hole out of a cigarette burn in the cushion. One part philosophical treaty, one part voice mail message, Whatever Stasis confronts the abyss all the while knowing, "it’s not the only abyss there is."

Tatiana Ryckman, author of I Don’t Think of You (Until I Do)

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