Night Unto Night: Poems
Martha Collins (Author)
DescriptionHow can one reconcile the irreconcilable? In this masterful companion to Day Unto Day, Martha Collins finds common ground between contradictions--beauty and horror, joy and mortality, the personal and the political. Like its predecessor, the daybook of Night Unto Night begins with time. Its six sequences, each written in one month a year, over the course of six years, bring together the natural and the all-too-human. Red-winged blackbirds and the death of a friend. The green leaves of a maple tree and drones overseas. A February spent in Italy and the persistence of anti-immigrant rhetoric. Dissonance is a permanent state, Collins suggests, something to be occupied rather than solved. And so this collection approaches its transcendence in the space between these seeming contrasts--and in the space between stanzas, sequences, days, and months. These poems are powerfully alive, speaking to and revising each other, borrowing a word or a line before turning it on end. We are doomed to repeat mistakes, seasons, wars, words. Yet redemption beckons, too, in the persistence of empathy and love.
March 06, 2018
5.4 X 0.5 X 8.4 inches | 0.4 pounds
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About the Author
Martha Collins is the author of eight volumes of poetry, including Day Unto Day, White Papers, and the book-length poem Blue Front. She has also published four collections of cotranslated Vietnamese poetry, including Black Stars: Poems by Ngo Tu Lap (with the author). Her awards include fellowships from the NEA, the Bunting Institute, and the Witter Bynner Foundation, as well as an Anisfield-Wolf Award, two Ohioana Awards, the Laurence Goldstein Poetry Prize, and three Pushcart Prizes. Founder of the creative writing program at UMass-Boston, she served as Pauline Delaney Professor of Creative Writing at Oberlin College until 2007, and is currently editor-at-large for FIELD magazine and one of the editors of the Oberlin College Press.
Praise for Night Unto Night "In this luminous companion to Day Unto Day, Collins renders the most humbling, gorgeous, and inscrutable features of human existence as if they might be made legible. Collins draws on sacred texts, figures, and rituals to arrive at a very earthly knowledge of finitude--of one's own mind and body, as well as of beloved others."--Publishers Weekly (starred review) "A richly textured poetics . . . Collins charts a world--all its emergent complexity, minutiae, and motion--through acts of attention, translation, and devotion. So much hangs together--hangs in the balance--in the syntactic fissures of Collins's discursive play."--Plume "The poems feel as though they are in an elegant vise. . . . Night Unto Night completes the twelve-poem sequence began in her previous book with an ethereal clarity that invites readers in and keeps them close."--The Arkansas International "A longtime poet of sociopolitical engagement, Martha Collins has been writing at the intersection of public and private subject matters for years. Equally, she has been mining the complexities of language and syntax for wordplay, precision, and multiplicity like no other contemporary American poet I can think of. Night Unto Night continues to explore these interests and approaches, while mortality comes quickly into focus as the book's overarching subject. In these wrought, pared-down poems we're given close access to a brilliant and complex mind reaching out and circling back, asserting and complicating, thinking with precision in language about what an individual's experience can tell us about our larger selves. The work is broad and approachable, even as it arrives through Collins's idiosyncratic, utterly original approach to the lyric."--Wayne Miller Praise for Day Unto Day "The themes here of love, parents' dyings and deaths, a beloved's illness, our seasons, and our wars sometimes break into lyric notes to the narrative. Notes perhaps of the subconscious, sometimes suggestive, sometimes unsolvable. Not meant maybe to be solved. Which in this poet's hands fit the subject of mortality: notes like little lights which sometimes sound like prayer."--Jean Valentine "Martha Collins's elegant new sequence takes as its central premise the representation of the mind-in-time. It is lovely, important, central work, of an order of import like the 20th century's great meditations on time, from Hardy's elegies to Eliot's Four Quartets to Ammons's Tape for the Turn of the Year."--Pleiades "These poetic sequences can't help but engage with the idea of time, with the immediacy of the past in our lives--but they are also much more than this. Martha Collins delves into the shiftiness of gender, the power of romantic love, the nature of the divine, the troubles of American national identity, and the certainty of mortality. Musically brilliant, psychologically intricate, movingly humane--Collins is one of our most vital poets."--Kevin Prufer "There is a difference between poems and poetry and Martha Collins knows it. Day Unto Day is a diary, a calendar, an artistic intervention taking the ordinary into the extraordinary for great generous intent--a quotidian preparation for human Being. Its pleasure is that of 'attention' and its attentions are intellectual, sonic, architectural and deeply spiritual."--Kazim Ali "A meditative expedition into the landscape of love, dissolution, and hanging on, tenaciously, to the fraying shreds of our battered humanity. Martha Collins's voice is unmistakably her own, and it is one of the most vital voices writing today."--Mead