Becca Klaver


“Klaver’s work is casually erudite, wryly observational, and thoughtfully whimsical. Those characteristics, when combined with her persistent and hypnotic use of repetition, swift wordplay, and punch lines delivered between moments of lush symbolism and satire, would qualify her as a member of a 21st-century New York School of poetry. Attuned to and critical of pop culture spectacle, Klaver charms and skewers with a sense of audience-conscious magnanimity.” —Publishers Weekly

“The state of America seems to lie at the center of this book, which was written before the 2016 Presidential election, but foresaw what was to come, as if Klaver consulted a Magic 8-Ball and received the message, ‘Outlook not so good.’ ‘Decade Zero,’ a lengthy poem in the center of the collection, serves almost as a ‘Waste Land’ for Klaver’s generation.” —Gina Myers, Hyperallergic

“Becca Klaver’s second full-length collection, Empire Wasted, traverses from the urban idyll of O’Hara to the current wasteland; it’s an updated view of what has always existed and may always exist in New York City—a place that both liberates and deteriorates a person. Klaver sets each poem within a precise moment of pop culture, leading with a lighthearted tone while also achieving an understated seriousness.” —Scout

“Klaver takes readers on a trip through social media, around a corner full of poets her poems converse with, followed by a trip to New York. Empire Wasted is a black comedy for this new age we find ourselves in, and like the best comedy, it’s funny because it’s true. It’s sad because it’s real.” —Nate Logan, Fanzine

59 in stock

SKU: EW Category: Tag:


6 x 9 | 116 pages
ISBN: 978-0-9965868-4-9
Trade Paper Original

We are thrilled to bring you this perfect-for-an-election-year-at-the-end-of-the-world new book from one of our favorite poets, Becca Klaver.

Advance Praise:

EMPIRE WASTED is an astonishing book, anthemic in its catchiness and the power of its arguments. From the suite of “Decade Zero,” the years so vacant they don’t even have a name, and the concomitant attraction of the very dreariest productions of the 90s, through to the neo-di Prima fervor of the revolutionary letters, it hits all the right notes. —KEVIN KILLIAN

Get out your Ozymandias hotpants and your Warhol tote bag: Becca Klaver is throwing a rooftop party for the end of the world. Everyone’s there, scrolling through the Pentagon’s Instagram feed and moshing to the sound of TV going digital. These poems whiplash through the last three decades, through the American landscape, through the songs stuck in your head, Klaver taking us from the last nostalgia to the New Quotidian. These are our anthems, bitches. Turn them up. —MC HYLAND

Where is America? And where is New York City? Where are we in history, and how will these days, years and decades live on? With EMPIRE WASTED, Becca Klaver asks these impossible-to-answer questions and more, taking us on a road trip across America and across the shaky threshold from the last century to the present one. Recalling Notley and Didion, Klaver gets “bad directions” that lead through a portal to a “diorama / of small-town America Past.” In “At Night the States,” Notley writes, “at night the states. I forget them or I wish I was there.” In a decade in a century in a country when we were told to “never forget,” Klaver remembers more than what she’s instructed to. Like pictures in a shoe box or a Facebook album, she shuffles through memories and snapshots both personal and country-sized, looking for truth, looking for home, finding it nowhere and everywhere. —MARISA CRAWFORD

Becca Klaver’s EMPIRE WASTED is an ode to a forever evolving and surviving New York City. These poems waltz with nostalgia. Along with Klaver, we slouch back towards the 1990s. We get drunk in dark bars when all the electricity goes out. We count down to the year 2000. Dead cell phone in hand, Klaver celebrates the writers and revolutionaries who inhabited the city before her. The television has gone to static and we’re out on the fire escape, the whole world heating up below our dangling feet. —LILY LADEWIG