The Next Country by Idra Novey

Winner of the 2005 PSA Chapbook Fellowship

The Next Country
by Idra Novey, selected and introduced by Carolyn Forche.

Edition: 500 copies of the winning books were printed by the Prolific Group and designed by Gabriele Wilson.


Novey exhibits the gift of radical uncertainty while retaining an impersonal but compassionately subjective lyric voice. If there are personal disclosures in this work, however, they are subtle and oblique

—Carolyn Forche

Idra Novey

Idra Novey is the author of the novel Those Who Knew, a finalist for the 2019 Clark Fiction Prize and a New York Times Editors’ Choice. Her first novel Ways to Disappear, received the Sami Rohr Prize, the Brooklyn Public Library Fiction Prize, and was a finalist for the L.A. Times Book Prize for First Fiction. Her poetry collections include Exit, Civilian, selected for the 2011 National Poetry Series, The Next Coun­try, and Clarice: The Visitor, a collaboration with the artist Erica Baum. Her fiction and poetry have been translated into a dozen languages and she’s written for The New York Times, The Los Angeles Times, and The Paris Review. She currently teaches fiction at Princeton University.

The Candidate

After falsely accused
of dishonesty, a man
may slip into a hallway

and stroke the husk of curtain,
over the closest window,
the sloping musty fringe of it.

If there's no curtain,
he may stroke the glass.
If it lacks a window,

he may lean into the wall
and imagine one, crawl out of it
onto a small boat

in a covert pond. Rowing across,
he may rub the injunction
like a stone in his palm, consider

tossing it waterward,
or surrender, let it settle
in his pocket, caustic

and awkward. As he accepts
its weight, he may grow
dishonest, begin

a life of clambering
onto boats, pants sagging
with every manner of stone.

All rights reserved. Reprinted with the permission of the author.

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