Cover of Everything is Water

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The first full-length book of poems from Oregon poet Greg Chaimov. Arranged around themes of old age, lost love, isolation, and introspection, with graceful water images throughout, the collection brings to mind poets as diverse as Anthony Hecht, Herbert Morris, and Lynda Hull. Vocabulary, allusions, and metaphors beam clear and wise.


The poet who likes the “quick three beats” of the word tesserae excels at assembling the tesserae of language, juxtaposing images and tropes to create lines that gleam with a richness of grief and resentment, of sensuousness and erotic regret. With elegant diction, with the music of subverted forms, with arresting allusions to history and to the classics, Greg Chaimov offers us his resonant “skein of thought, like a hummingbird, /caught before its flight.” His poems deftly “put into words the hollow ache,” conveying that human sorrow “deep beneath the song.”

— Paulann Petersen, Oregon Poet Laureate