To Be Read in the Dark

Maxine Chernoff


September 2011

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To Be Read in the Dark casts its strobe of radical vision on the dark crises of our common experience. Personal and prophetic, these compressed lyrics are capacious in meaning. Here is a penetrating appraisal of the underlying politics and philosophical disposition of our daily struggles, both formally relentless and epic in scope. These are poems you will want to read aloud, letting this language spotlight a navigable course into and through the dark.

About the Author

Both a poet and a fiction writer, Maxine is the author of three books of short stories and three novels. Her most recent books are the short story collection Some of Her Friends That Year and the poetry books The Turning, Among the Names, World, and Evolution of the Bridge: Selected Prose Poems. She also won the 2009 PEN Translation Award as co-translator of The Selected Works of Friedrich Hölderlin.

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you take the thread

dear taster of endings

warp or woof

an amorous quest

involving the greening

of translated ground

you take the words

like any blamed object

make them excessive

like crow’s mimicry

you breathe in their weather

exhale a death

night’s airy gestures

are over-determined

valor is pale

you ask for a window

to open a reason

for feeding on light

like any dead thing

you want some comfort

in room’s sentenced story

verbless black corner

changing your essence

like cave’s allegory

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