chorus 27 / Ojito Canyon / what consoles does wondering console

Daniela Naomi Molnar

Pink light in ribs, asking again how to see.                            Inquires as to the shape of wind.                                                                                                        A good question                                     highlights a rupture in the bathymetric map.                                     I’ve listened hard in order to see. But what is seenasks back.Ribs gone gray, shifted north.                                                Yes, he said to me, I’m pushing you away.                                                What else is there to say?I’m pushing you. Ribs crack. Fragments flung                                                 against the dome. Why trust anyone, ever.                    Because the flag in the valley                                                           trust-traces wind.                    Because rust                                                           trust-traces corrugation.                    Because an abacus of trust.                                                           Because a life lived without trust                    is a sad life to live.                                                                                  So I lay my whole body flat                                                                                                   in the icy river                                                                                                                      until I can’t ask. His body shook even when he was still. Which means he was neverstill. I saw this as a sign of his enchanted, creative agitation. Later, itwas a sign of his shiftiness, his shadiness, his inability to sit even withhimself.                                                         Ribs weft-grown, east-pressed, dissolve. Small birds in the thicket unbutton the air with song.

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Daniela Naomi Molnar is an artist, poet, and writer working with the mediums of language, image, paint, pigment, and place. She is also a wilderness guide, educator, and eternal student. Her book CHORUS was selected by Kazim Ali as the winner of Omnidawn’s 2022 1st/2nd Book Prize. Her work was the subject of a recent Oregon Art Beat profile and a front-page feature in the Los Angeles Times. This entry about her work in the Oregon Encyclopedia pushes all her nerd buttons at once. Her visual work has been shown nationally, is in public and private collections internationally, and has been recognized by numerous grants, fellowships, and residencies. She teaches about poetry and the poetics of pigment-making. In 2016, she founded the Art + Ecology program at the Pacific Northwest College of Art and is a founding Board member of the artist residency Signal Fire. A cornerstone of her practice is to be resolutely non-competitive, non-expert, and committed to always changing. She can be found in Portland, Oregon, exploring public wildlands, or at / Instagram: @daniela_naomi_molnar

"[A] striking debut. . . . These poems do not deliver tidy answers to the dilemmas of existence, but rather investigate the division and fragmentation with lyric urgency."
Publishers Weekly

"Chorus is a lyric wail stunned into awakening by crises both planetary and personal-- though here, as in the physical universe, the two are not oppositional phenomena. Pieces made of fragmented verse, sinuous prose, and desperate frenzied plea make a rhetoric of salve, or salvation. As the poet writes, ‘The songbird is and is not a metaphor./The songbird is and is not gone.’ What I mean to say to you (I meaning me, you meaning absolutely you, the one reading this) is that this is a book that speaks from a body and to a body. I felt spoken to. Known. ‘Are you there. Is anyone there.’"
— Kazim Ali, judge of the 1st/2nd Omnidawn Book Contest 2021

"Tendrilic, electric, Daniela Naomi Molnar’s Chorus traces a mind in swift action. A near daybook, this collection is intimate and expansive, born of the solitudes highlighted in the pandemic, while resistant to the individualisms thrust upon us. It is a choral undertaking that points to the ecosystems of our languages, the subterranean connections between our lives and the world, and the 'open portals' of books in our current fires. A stunning book by a poet I am excited to follow."
— Solmaz Sharif, author of Customs

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