Saturday, August 20, 2022

To Be Read in the Dark

I love how I finished reading this one in the dark! That is, at night! A glorious summer night, after an exciting in-and-out rainy day. We need more rain, but I am also happy for summer to last as long as it can and for fantasy/Camelot (only rains after sundown) to reign as long as it can. The book is To Be Read in the Dark, by Maxine Chernoff, a Chicago/San Francisco poet (Omnidawn, 2011).

I loved the immediate coincidence of blue, in the very first poem, "The Box," itself an accidental/prescient, pre-pandemic enclosure coincidence!

     blue as memory's
     alien air
     blue as
     the world

The word "alien" is also an amazing coincidence re: yesterday's book, which uses the word "alien" in a number of ways!

I loved the phrase, and the personal/universal resonance of "memory's edge / is too demanding" in the poem, "There Will Be Consequences," the title of which also resonates with my upbringing. I loved the coincidence of "cardboard scenery" (theatre/unlikely) and "circumference" (Emily Dickinson, etc.)

I loved "How I Wrote Certain of My Books" for 1) its title and 2) the coincidence of mountain in "mountain's white page" (in part, in connection to Heidi, oddly!)

And I loved, and grieved, the last poem's aching, ever pertinent, perennial question, "What Did You Do in the War?" and how it devolves into "moments reduced / to cicada and vision," still going on in my own back yard in August....

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