A Little More Red Sun on the Human: New & Selected Poems


Product Details

$19.95  $18.55
Nightboat Books
Publish Date
7.0 X 1.2 X 8.9 inches | 1.35 pounds
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About the Author

Gillian Conoley was awarded the 2017 Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America. A Little More Red Sun on the Human: Selected Poems is forthcoming with Nightboat Books in Fall 2019. Her seventh poetry collection, PEACE, was named an Academy of American Poets Standout Book for 2014 and a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. Conoley's work has received the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Fund for Poetry Award. Her translations of Henri Michaux, Thousand Times Broken, appeared with City Lights in 2014. Conoley is Poet-in-Residence and Professor of English at Sonoma State University, where she edits Volt.


"Multi-award-winning poet Conoley (The Plot Genie) gives us objects (pears, violins, aircrafts, sky), people (presidents, poets, mothers, sons, Gandhi), and landscapes (Marksville, LA; a blueness sucking in the sun), as events spread unevenly across the page. The poet's spare language builds into scenes that stir understanding; they are careful so as not to disappoint: 'if time began we would do it again/ the lungs two oars in the middle of the ocean.'"--Annalisa Pesek, Library Journal

"Conoley's acute historical awareness leads to a disconnection of self: '[O]bsolete / hands reaching but not reached / and pushing glass away / more room now.' Yet her deep, human concerns highlight an ethics and perspective that is both constantly articulated and continually questioned, reviewed, and revised: 'What are we to the man / who attacked the gunman / as he started to reload, a constituency?' This articulation takes intelligence and humor--'I didn't want my eyes to be / my reality negator'--and what's more is that Conoley's politicized language never buries the personal, nor her personality: '[A]t my father's funeral, a blind field / the flag taken from over the casket / folded into a triangle, handed to us / throughout 'the reception' / a boy eyes a pizza slice / on a white paper plate.'"--Publishers Weekly

Conoley's sensibility is sly and sensuous, but also nettlesome and more than a little iconoclastic (one of her previous collections is called Profane Halo). She reminds herself in the present book to 'try to be like Marx / who said at the end of his life, I am not a Marxist.' Her writing combines a distinct regional flavor (she grew up in Texas) with a longstanding commitment to experimentation and to putting the grain of her voice at risk.--Daniel Tiffany, Boston Review

"Conoley's poems have a singular energy like an organ solo or a shotgun resorting to storytelling. She adds tool handles to our histories; a set list for our waking souls. And an instrument of self-reflection that a landscape might ponder itself with. On her page, our natures get away with nothing. All cradled by a ruthlessly loving dance of language; in her poems we meet our twins."--TONGO EISEN MARTIN

"Are we allowed to enjoy poetry this much? These poems are so pleasurable it's nearly felonious. Their narratives point to both the ordinary and the deepest dream-real in the saturated colors of fairy tales. They remind me to watch the way a mail carrier walks or what it feels like to be lost in language's musical woods--meaning, they are alive to life, and that living is infectious. 'Do you feel a light in the sun/on your back, piercing through the water, it's a light--said the said the I.' Bask in that."--ELENI SIKELIANOS

"Nimble, inquisitive and intelligently elegant, the poems in this much anticipated volume reorient phenomena to make meaning with it: personal, inviting, knowing, and necessary. The range of Gillian Conoley's poetic attention is a marvel."--HOA NGUYEN

"Masterfully composed in the hot spaces and so rhythmic sounds Americans have put to their times. 'Like gold into scar/a twister in the skull.'"--ALICE NOTLEY

Here we find the peculiarly American matter-of-factness of the small-town exotic comes face-to-face with the intellectual high-brow energy. Carson McCullers meets Gertrude Stein. Perhaps Jane Bowles is an appropriate comparison."--The Antioch Review

Like a movie camera panning from one spot to another, Conoley's early poems carry us into an oddly familiar world without ever landing in a well-known terrain, such as transcendent revelation. Starting out with poems set in Texas, where the poet grew up, Conoley moves - literally and figuratively - into a wider, deeper world.--John Yau, Hyperallergic

Conoley foregrounds the immediacy of our experience of language, its materiality, through the silence, rupture, and elision that she invites into her poetry. As the book unfolds, we witness Conoley, like the speaker of "Native," "taking the meaning / and giving back the meaning / as the photographs do with the life."--Kristina Marie Darling, LARB

This work is the warmth of the sun inside us at night, the crushing duty of life support. Living in our world is like opening a door to see light at the end of a tunnel, but forging ahead blindly and finding peace in shadows.--Bethany Mary, Vagabond City Lit

To read Gillian Conoley's poems is to enter the world of the uncanny; it looks and feels like our world, but something is a bit unsettling. And perhaps that's what our world really is, only we are unaware of it until her lines bring the darkly lit, cinematic, revelatory scenes to the fore.--Tracy Zeman, Colorado Review

The collection I've returned to most this year is Gillian Conoley's A Little More Red Sun on the Human (Nightboat Books). It's a nearly-300-page compilation of Conoley's restless, often enigmatic poems, and it demonstrates--to me anyway--why she's one of America's most singular voices.--Jeremy Lybarger, The Poetry Foundation