Eve Studies Cezanne’s The Basket of Apples

Carolyn Oliver

Temptation's lesson says: choosethe uncontested one, pear-shaped, alone,red creeping along its side the way a blushsteals over a man's cheeks when he comes.But I want the one in the middle,the sweet green that holds its shape,the round, sour taste of knowledge.I want perfection. I want what's mine.And if you think that table's impossible,try obedience.

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Benjamin Oliver

Carolyn Oliver is the author of Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble (University of Utah Press, 2022), selected by Matthew Olzmann for the Agha Shahid Ali Prize in Poetry. She is also the author of three chapbooks: Mirror Factory (Bone & Ink Press, 2022), Dearling (dancing girl press, 2022), and Night Ocean (Seven Kitchens Press, forthcoming 2023). Carolyn’s poems appear in The Massachusetts Review, Copper Nickel, Cincinnati Review, Shenandoah, Beloit Poetry Journal, 32 Poems, Southern Indiana Review, Plume, and in numerous other journals. Her honors include the E. E. Cummings Prize from the NEPC, the Goldstein Prize from Michigan Quarterly Review, and the Frank O’Hara Prize from The Worcester Review, where she now serves as editor. Born in Buffalo and raised in Northeast Ohio, Carolyn currently lives in Massachusetts with her family.

Cover of Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble

Salt Lake City, Utah

The University of Utah

Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble is a marvelous book. It is at once both personal and political, searing and tender. On one page, these poems might skillfully speak to (and through) art and artists across centuries; next, they might tell a new story of Eve, contemplate the complications of America, or deftly chart the mysteries of the human spirit. Through it all, each poem is an event, and each event feels timeless and timely.”
—Matthew Olzmann, author of Contradictions in the Design

“In her marvelous debut collection, Carolyn Oliver brings the reader to the garden—the literal garden stalked by wasps, the metaphorical garden where Szymborska’s Polish consonants are ‘bunched like root vegetables’—a lush space of sweetness and growth but also danger. Oliver gives us the textures of a life, and the precariousness: the tremble, the crush, the dissolve, the fizzle. These are poems of the body and poems of the earth. What did I do when I finished this book? I immediately began it again.”
—Maggie Smith, author of Goldenrod and Good Bones

"Wunderkammer and honey-laden hive, Carolyn Oliver’s Inside the Storm I Want to Touch the Tremble is a spectacular feat of craft and wonder. Within the finely articulated fury of each poem, we feel 'time turn nimbus' and, dizzied, delight in the strange splendors offered here: the body—tender, desirous, wracked with pain, pulsed with pleasure, undone and born again through time—and its threats of memory and grave knowledge; the promise and peril of beloved others intimate, familiar, strange, and lost, perhaps regained; doubt, failure, and the exercise of faith, the poems their own forms of query and prayer. Oliver’s is a voice we’ve been waiting to hear, her music tuned to worlds we suspect, perhaps sound, but never quite touch. What else to call this music but alchemy? O, how these poems gleam—bright gems!—with skies 'of beaten gold.'"
—Julie Phillips Brown, author of The Adjacent Possible

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