Purchase Breakup/Breakdown from Amazon.

The cover art is by designer Maureen Punte.


Breakup/Breakdown documents the aftermath of a relationship rupture, one that unmoors the speaker of the poems as he hurtles through grief, anger, and confusion. Straightforward poems find complements in a series of “selfies” with jilted women from film and literature, whose stories speak to and reflect the speaker’s.


With wry humor and poignant contemplation, Breakup/Breakdown provides readers with excellent company, whether recalling breakups of their own or simply witnessing the narrative of the book’s hero. In the poem “Disruption,” our speaker advises that, “Love, my friends, should never / be entrusted to the heart, whose job // is to push away the only thing / the world will ever offer it.” In the midst of loss that is both personal and universal, Jensen conjures familiar figures, from literature to film, to offer another dimension of insight on the path from sorrow to empowerment. This chapbook has all the emotional heft of a full-length collection, and every line glistens with truth.

—Mary Biddinger, author of Small Enterprise

“In his elegant, urgent couplets, Charles Jensen charts the aftermath of a romantic breakup. He puts us in the middle of that “mad, mad moment”—anger that could kill, pain that can make us give up. This is a vulnerable and moving suite of poems.”

—David Trinidad

“Jensen’s is a short, quiet, and personal collection, one that in its straightforward simplicity offers many delights. For anyone who has experienced love and heartbreak, they will find this chapbook a worthwhile read. Read the full review.

—Walter Holland, Lambda Literary

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