A metropole that unpeoples and peoples
The burnt tropic masticating its vine stock wand and wind—Cracked I-phone glass : raying thought, chatter : susurration and aftershockhair matted below our ears receiving signals / / not all that synthesizable— rhythm and phoneme saying hey there, hey there [until more gessoed grew the honeydark summer street— when you] coming back— sang— the heat —fecund— nightfallen Partial to sky—tadpoles gone celestial—Our vocabulary split into two columns in which : a lexicon likes beginning —carrion, nightingale—cloud bank and snow— A waitress slept in her car for the heatbreathing in the half-inch of the window left open
“A metropole that unpeoples and peoples” from NOTES FROM THE PASSENGER: by Gillian Conoley.
Published by Nightboat Books on May 2, 2023.
Copyright © 2023 by Gillian Conoley.
All rights reserved.
Reproduced by Poetry Daily with permission.
Gillian Conoley is a poet, editor, and translator. Her new collection is Notes from the Passenger with Nightboat Books May 2023. The author of ten collections of poetry, Conoley received the Shelley Memorial Award from the Poetry Society of America, and was awarded the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Fund for Poetry Award. A Little More Red Sun on the Human, also with Nightboat, won the 39th annual Northern California Book Award in 2020. Often comprising narrative, lyric, and fragmented forms, her work takes up an inquiry into spirit and matter, the individual and the state. Conoley has taught at the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, the University of Denver, Vermont College, Tulane University, and Sonoma State University. Conoley’s translations of three books by Henri Michaux, Thousand Times Broken, appearing in English for the first time, is with City Lights. A long-time resident of the San Francisco Bay Area, founder and editor of VOLT magazine, Conoley has collaborated with installation artist Jenny Holzer, composer Jamie Leigh Sampson, and Butoh dancer Judith Kajuwara.
"The collection’s title captures its duality: we follow the journey of the 'passenger,' while the act of note-taking—reliant on layers of language—remains at the surface. Conoley engages the materiality of words, at times playfully riffing and dreaming in allusions."
—Rebecca Morgan Frank, Harriet Books
"Gillian Conoley’s Notes from the Passenger reads as if written 'in an aura of intimacy,' intimacy with the daughter, the lover, the reader, the dead, and with the spirit, sometimes called God, sometimes called 'the messenger.' In wide-open poems that expose the junk and the beauty of the material world, the violence and the grace within the social, Conoley embraces 'mortality…with its rosy edge of want' while catapulting toward the infinite, what she calls the 'next next world.'"
"Future twin of Saint Perpetua, Gillian Conoley is our timely passenger listening lustily for messages from perpetuity. In these vibrating, visionary poems, the dead speak as the future speaks and 'at all times the time / between technologies drip[s].' Perpetual font of a 'know-not' wisdom, Conoley channels data into myth and myth into an algorithm, gathering our resources so that we get ever-ready for what’s to come."