Elise Houcek


ISBN 978-1-956005-13-4        102 pages           $16.00


“The antithesis of nature, but au contraire, what I mean is wild n

free.” Get liberated by Tractatus, Elise Houcek’s neo-bimbo limbo

through “the alluring trash/meanness of the feminine.” The atmospheric

drama and high hilarity of Lara Glenum meets “Britney Spears’s SOS.

Or a signal to the wolves, the dogs, the moon, anything chrome.”

Immersive as a mansion of mirrors, Houcek plays through classic

poem-stuff—beauty, memory, romance, and youth—until we arrive at the

“joke-bed” of being, the fun house where language goes on holiday,

gets a makeover, and comes home as philosophy.

     Candice Wuehle


Elise Houcek’s Tractatus is a complete retaliation against material

abstraction. It’s unapologetic and loud, casting literary metal into

stones and lexical stones into copper or ice. These deviating

vignettes of Houcek: they melt. In August. They flash at us. In

September. Today, they disobediently languish on the page of our eyes

like a “slit of white duvet embroidered” on our “navy blue” reading

glasses. With Houcek’s work, everything could become impossible again.



Elise Houcek created a brilliant poetry page-turner in Tractatus. Allow your eyes to adjust to the breath placed between each letter and each unique insight between language and the lives that cannot help but speak it. Tractatus is a book we will be talking about with our friends for a very long time! Let’s get swept into its vortex, from escaping interrogators to patriarchy’s pronounlessness and a new meaning to chicken nuggets.



Elise Houcek is a writer, artist, and recent graduate of the MFA program at the University of Notre Dame. Her writing has appeared or is forthcoming in The New Delta Review, The Comstock Review, DIAGRAM, Prelude, Posit, Afternoon Visitor, Always Crashing and other journals and has been supported by residencies from Art Farm and a fellowship from the Pierce Cedar Creek Institute for Environmental Education. Her poetry chapbook, So Neon Was the Rope, was a semi-finalist for the 2021 Tomaž Šalamun Prize from Verse and will be published by Osmanthus Press in 2022. TRACTATUS (Spuyten Duyvil, 2021) is her first “book.”