cover image Aster of Ceremonies: Poems

Aster of Ceremonies: Poems

Jjjjjerome Ellis. Milkweed, $16 trade paper (144p) ISBN 978-1-63955-012-8

The imaginative latest from neurodivergent poet Ellis (The Clearing) examines the idea of voice and stutter through lineated and hybrid prose poems weaving musical scores and images as they consider the experiences of Black and disabled people. A motif of flowers runs throughout, as do ones of silence and fruit: “The stutter/ disperses silences, quiets,/ small homes for listening—small/ vocal fruit splitting” (“Octagon of Water, Movement 2*). The short poem “Prayer to my Stutter #2” offers a simple blessing: “You restore/ a living/ shoreline/ between word/ and silence.” In “Prayer to My Stutter #6,” Ellis evocatively writes: “Every word is an answer, every answer an arrow, every arrow a river, every river a word.// I belong to you. You let the eagles lead me to the mountain in the music, the mountain of winter, the mountain that is home.// Be still and let the fountain fill with patience.” The poet’s chorus of voices invites a new way of thinking about the speaker and the addressee. Ellis innovatively expands the range of poetic possibilities. (Oct.)