City Scattered

Winner of the Snowbound Chapbook Award

Purchase from Tupelo Press

From Cole Swensen’s Judge’s Citation:

“In a tone reminiscent of the era’s radio plays, City Scattered offers a range of spliced voices that construct a multi-perspectival musing on ‘the new woman’ as she emerged in the labor and consumer culture of Germany between the wars… We participate in the city itself as it becomes a kaleidoscope of rapidly shifting images, making quick, expert cuts into each other, juxtaposing an arousing, energized youth, dancing, drinking, and punching time-clocks, with black-and-white, grainy newsreel imagery of unemployment lines and laundry drying in coal-polluted air. Tyler Mills keeps her language sharp and flat, vivid and yet frank…”  


City Scattered invokes the bleak not-so-caberet-life of an imagined Berlin in four voices. Along with a German woman, there’s an ethnographer who plays a Victrola and takes notes (‘but you can already/ find all that in novels,’ answers an informant), an interlocutor critiquing, and a chorus (counted as one voice). The Berlin woman ‘being self-serving, promiscuous, and unmotherly, was nevertheless the darling of a new consumer culture’ negotiates the realm. ‘The real power of light is presence’ writes author Tyler Mills, but the light shed in the series ‘I / Self / Woman in Berlin’ is a power itself ‘with coal staining the sheets/like ink.’ Congratulations, a fine chapbook!” – Terese Svoboda

“In City Scattered, through gorgeous strands of speech, Tyler Mills perceptively reintegrates our sacred, forgotten past into a portrait of a woman whose self-possession and complexity are palpably rendered. Only a poet with such sensitivities of language can so clearly hear and interpret the immortal silence of history; only a poet attuned to her own incandescent spirit can test the oneiric nature of poetry with such vigor of mind.” – Major Jackson

“Tyler Mills’ The City Scattered is a rich document of the “inner architecture” and social displacements that occur under the “skies / of capital.” Its choral structure deftly links the late days of the Weimar Republic to labor in the age of Amazon. Through swift images and attention to the complexity of pleasure, Mills’ poems show the independence and alienation of workers, particularly women, for whom the “purse thickens” while unemployment rises and money is ‘losing value.’ Her crisp, suggestive case study illuminates the confluence of precarity and prosperity at the heart of our era. ‘Do not lean out,’ warns a sign on a window in one poem; but we’re already leaning closer to read.” – Zach Savich

Listen to the interview with James Morehead on the Viewless Wings Poetry Podcast

Sample Poems:

“I / Self / Woman in Berlin [If you ask me later if I knew],” Diode

“I / Self / Woman in Berlin [I saw two doves today. They became tricks],” Chorus Played on a Victrola: Arousal,” and “The Study: The Delicate Language of Signs,” Guesthouse