Jos Charles

                                            All that turns                                            is a wheel The skyis ashen & a wheel that is turning as we crossa bridge of stone                                             It is not yet noon in the port                                            where I live Like any a poem                                            that is after you Paul at Pont Mirabeau                                             We touch a bridge & therefore its stone                                            To touch a stone is forever to touch a bridge In the streetthey are starting fires    It warms even us                                             What was crossed out is not the same                                            as what was never written down                                             Mountains mind even us   Looked at last at the branch that                                            plaits your face Symptom                                            like we cling gardener to each Love referentless From the roof ofthe apartment branches break their pits seedless                                             within it men in                                            trees sing   In the aenigmaof a shadow of a window left openfor windto leave     In the thought that cannot account for form & having spent thoughtwe encounter form only      In the distance between the hole ofa stone & a dove within it Of all we have imagined & we haveimagined such distances       What is known & not known You touchthe stone it could be any stone I live on   It is fallingash in Santa Ana falling in your year                                                          irrecoverably                                                          in the eveningholding hands our                                                          selves                                                          into the evening                                                                       we wept a                                                                       quiet English                                                          the day contained   (Such silence suddennow in the clearing A tarpchains the lot of our speech                                              Sunday        no women washing at the washing                                                                       stones    The past is only                                                                       the only mutable thing)                                                                        A lone tanker                                                                       in the waves swims

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Sergio de la Torre

Jos Charles is author of the forthcoming collection a Year & other poems (Milkweed Editions, March 15, 2022), feeld, a Pulitzer-finalist and winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series selected by Fady Joudah (Milkweed Editions, 2018), and Safe Space (Ahsahta Press, 2016). She currently teaches as a part of Randolph College’s low-residency MFA program. Charles has an MFA from the University of Arizona and is currently a PhD student at UC Irvine. She resides in Long Beach, CA.

Cover of A Year & Other Poems

Minneapolis, Minnesota

Jos Charles’s poems communicate with one another as neurons do: sharp, charged, in language that predates language. “A scandal / three cartons red / in a hedge / in / each the thousand eye research of flies.” With acute lyricism, she documents how a person endures seemingly relentless devastation—California wildfires, despotic legislation, housing insecurity—amid illusions of safety. “I wanted to believe,” Charles declares, “a corner a print leaned to / a corner can save / a people.” Still the house falls apart. Death visits and lingers. Belief proves, again and again, that belief alone is not enough.

Yet miraculously, one might still manage to seek—propelled by love, or hope, or sometimes only momentum—something better. There is a place where there are no futile longings, no persistent institutional threats to one’s life. Poems might take us there; tenderness, too, as long as we can manage to keep moving. “A current / gives as much as it has,” writes Charles—despite fire, despite loss.

Harrowing and gorgeous, a Year & other poems is an astonishing new collection from a poet of “unusual beauty and lyricism” (New Yorker).

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