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

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

Gillian Conoley. Nightboat, $19.95 ISBN 978-1-643620-11-4

Over the course of her career, Conoley’s style has developed from lyric poems recounting a Texas girlhood, to fragmented sequences that play with language and perspective, to roving, cinematic poems that address history, art, biography, and language. Winner of the 2017 Shelley Memorial Award, Conoley makes this transformation visible in these selections, which the poet has organized into sequential, thematic sections independent of her seven collections, introducing unfamiliar readers to her aesthetic preoccupations and concerns. Conoley’s turns of phrase are often surprising: “In the morning the river is busy/ dividing an uncracked code.” Resembling the poems in Peace and The Plot Genie, the eight new poems included shimmer with a techno-political, sometimes post-human voice: “[W]hen can we/ lift off a redacted divinity;” and “I say welcome to our infinite, unmerciful, eternal estrangement, home/ to the girl from Oaxaca crossed over// a placenta’s swell.” While this book won’t necessarily recontextualize Conoley’s oeuvre in the American canon, it provides new and exciting work alongside a broad introduction to an idiosyncratic and innovative poet of the American West. (Oct.)