By Reason of Breakings, Andrew Zawacki's first book of poetry, overwhelms and silences by virtue of its extremely austere beauty. In highly wrought lyrics, prose poems, fragments of apocrypha, and splintered efforts at song, this volume is forceful and haunted by doubt. Each intimate and restrained line is a glimpse at a wisdom that defies paraphrase, each image carefully chosen and constructed. Zawacki's language summons and invites and is almost menacing in its delicate intensity: "Weight is the syntax of filling empty spaces: scalpels and expired tissue fall, but fire rises to fever and sere." While pursuing an explanation for the disappearance of God and for the denouement of a love affair, and exploring the failure of language to compensate or console, these poems maintain their sublime power and elegance.