cover image Eruv


Eryn Green. Yale Univ, $18 trade paper (96p) ISBN 978-0-300-20122-2

Taking its title from the Hebrew word for “a ritual enclosure that opens private into public spaces” to allow “transport between worlds,” Green’s debut, the 2013 Yale Series of Younger Poets winner selected by Carl Phillips, calls on language to create just this kind of transit between the sensory and the discursive, the fragment and the whole, the daily and the sublime. Driven by sound, the poems accumulate line by line, each registering a discrete impression while continuing to unfold a sustained thought: “of goldenrod// yellow light elbowing across// tall bushes// far-off voice”; “world where// gates ajar rend my prayer// where// wren—”; “If I were dressed like// the sun// red-edge// gold-edge//... and holy// edge// unscorched by tiller.” The lyrical “I” that emerges feels less like a character behind each poem and more like a site where thought and sensation arise and crystallize into language. When touched by Green’s gaze, the world teems with meaning (“any aster, if it opens/ says something/ beautiful, probably/ about a peony—I was waiting/ I was waiting/ for you/ to come/ to your senses”) but never settles into conclusion. Instead, “I start looking/ forward to an open door/ the thing that happens/ next—the world/ opens up.” (Apr.)