Tough Luck: Poems


Release date: June 2017

Now available in Kindle and Hardcover at Amazon. Or better yet: from your favorite independent 

At the center of Tough Luck is a poem about the ill-fated I-35W Bridge in Minneapolis and its disastrous collapse that killed 13 people and injured 145. The freighted, swiftly moving poems in Tough Luck crisscross the chasm between peril and safety as if between opposing riverbanks, revealing a frequently heart-stopping view of the muscled waters below. Marriage, family, home—all come crashing down, but Boss rebuilds with his trademark musicality and “a reverent gusto for representing the tactile aspects of human life” (Tony Hoagland).

Library Journal starred review
Boss is a poet to watch, likely to prove one of the leading voices of the next decade. Readers may be drawn to this collection for the poems that touch on disaster and divorce, but they’ll stay for the memorable verses on nature and memory.

Washington Post
What readers will most appreciate is the speaker’s unflagging determination to endure and to keep moving forward. In “A Hoard of Driftwood,” for instance, 

he describes the wood as “All dry-weight, drier than stone but thin as air, finer than / hair and softer than skin — as if despite the unintended sin / 
of being broken down, they’d been born again, beauty-strong.”


Alicia Ostriker, author of The Old Woman, the Tulip, and the Dog
A latter-day avatar of no ideas but in things, Todd Boss charms, and sometimes instructs, and and sometimes simply awes the reader with mouthfuls of language ‘like the clop of the walnut / block beneath the gavel of the // judge who fits the punishment / to the crime.’ Language and things, things of farm and town, of disaster and love and orange peels: He’s married them.


Beth Ann Fennelly, author of Tender Hooks, Unmentionables, and Heating and Cooling
It’s deeply satisfying to be swept into the music that scores Todd Boss’s third book, Tough Luck, to delight in the song of everyday speech refreshed and refined through sly rhyme. It is deeply transporting to be ferried across the river of his metaphors, to arrive at places logical yet magical. And it’s deeply delightful to walk in the world of Boss’s objects—a wall-mounted coffee grinder, an old farm sled, and unused Scrabble tiles “sitting there in their tray like dumbstruck parishioners.” Tough Luck is funny and philosophical and wry and large-hearted, and it’s our great good luck to have it.