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Library of Light (Hardback)

P&S History > Humanities > Poetry

Imprint: Wesleyan University Press
Series: Wesleyan Poetry Series
Pages: 112
ISBN: 9780819500915
Published: 25th April 2024
Casemate UK Academic


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Incantation and elegy shine through one another in this extraordinary poetic memoir

When poet Danielle Vogel began writing meditations on the syntax of earthen and astral light, she had no idea that her mother's tragic death would eclipse the writing of that book, turning her attention to grief's syntax and quiet fields of cellular light in the form of memory. Written in elegant, crystalline prose poems, A Library of Light is a memoir that begins and ends in an incantatory space, one in which light speaks. At the book's center glows a more localized light: the voice of the poet as she reflects, with ceremonial patience, on the bioluminescence of the human body, language's relationship to lineage, her mother's journals written during years of estrangement from her daughter, and the healing potential of poetry. A mesmerizing elegy infused with studies of epigenetic theory and biophotonics, A Library of Light shows that to language is to take part in transmission, transmutation of energy, and sonic (re)patterning of biological light.

[sample poem]

When we are. When we are there, we lay together

and cover ourselves with our voices. When we are

ten, we are also twenty-one. We speak of breathing,

but this is a thing we cannot do. When we are

seven, we are also eighteen. When we are eighteen,

we begin our bodies. But we are unmappable,

unhinged. A resynchronization of codes, the

crystalline frequencies of stars, seeds, vowels, lying

dormant within you. We are the oldest dialect. A

sound the voice cannot make but makes.

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