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It Is Daylightby Arda Collins
Part of Louise Gluck's power squad of the Yale Younger Poets Series, Arda Collins dominated my poetry world this year. Both lonely and comical, Collins plays with God much like, dare I say, Berryman does in The Dream Songs. Collins shows me a place that I'm simply unable to go to on my own. Poetry fans, keep her on your radar, in the middle of it.
Synopses & Reviews
Arda Collins is the 2008 winner of the annual Yale Series of Younger Poets competition. Mesmerizing and electric, her volume It Is Daylight reads as a series of dramatic monologues articulated in the privacy of an enclosed space.
The poems are concrete and yet metaphysically challenging, both witty and despairing. Collins emotional complexity and uncommon range make this debut both thrillingly imaginative and ethical in its uncompromising attention to detail.
In her Foreword, contest judge Louise Gluck observes, "I know no poet whose sense of fraud, the inflated emptiness that substitutes for feeling, is more acute." Gluck calls Collins volume "savage, desolate, brutally ironic . . . a book of astonishing originality and intensity, unprecedented, unrepeatable."
"Louise Gluck's sixth pick as judge of the prestigious Yale Series of Younger Poets competition is a debut both whimsical and dark. In limpid free verse lines that slink down the page, Collins introduces a speaker with little confidence in the self or the world at large, prone to questions like, 'Can I guess what I am thinking?' Collins's poems seek an almost religious sense of meaning in a world too cynical for faith: 'God? you say, but not aloud. Since/ there is no god, you have to be/ both you and god. Yes, god says.' When the poems rely on overly flat or jokey surrealism — 'He slaughtered a bear/ for a meat roast party' — it's hard not to wonder why the poems won't admit to how seriously they take themselves and their subjects. Yet, at their best, these poems — set in places as understated as 'a zoo/ full of animals' or a 'Heaven' that 'is a white Formica table' — are driven by a real, if vague, fear that will likely be a familiar poetic pose to readers who came of age in the last two decades, and which is really the old existential terror that the self can't really be known and that the terms of life are always shifting." Publishers Weekly (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"This is a book of dazzling modernity....Caustic, pithy, ruthlessly sharp witted and keen eyed....Devoid of that taste for rhetorical splendor that turns so easily stodgy...." Louise Gluck
About the Author
Arda Collins lives in Denver, where she is pursuing a Ph.D. in poetry. Her poems have been published in journals and magazines including The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, A Public Space, and others. She is a graduate of the Iowa Writers' Workshop where she was a Glenn Schaeffer Fellow.
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