Every Ending Should Make a Sound

C J Evans

Fur should make a sound, pursing lips should. When a pupildilates or a chimney swift dives. The urn, full of what a personwas. Paint, old wool, the mountain. We should. Every reliquary,every fault, every grave should make a sound. Vines of howthey hold up the ruin. All the people who were here with usand now aren’t. Dark should. This room. Dirt aboutwhat it knows of what’s now in the urn. Lines as theybreak the edges of a mouth. Any last day spent alone.

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Headshot of CJ Evans

C J Evans is the author of Lives, (Sarabande Books) which received the 2022 Kathryn A. Morton Prize, chosen by Victoria Chang, A Penance (New Issues Press), and The Category of Outcast, selected by Terrance Hayes for the Poetry Society of America Chapbook fellowship. A recipient of the Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship, he is the editor in chief of Two Lines Press, a publisher of international literature in translation, and lives in the Bay Area.

Cover of LIVES

Louisville, Kentucky

"The perceptive, atmospheric second work from Evans (A Penance) is divided into four sections whose poems are both intimate and expansive...full of finely crafted lines and carefully unfolding narratives.'And what else could my heart be for if not to try?' Evans writes in 'Time for Lives Getting Better Is Done,' capturing the spirit of this searching collection."
Publishers Weekly

"What Lives captures most inventively is the brittle, flibbertigibbet quality of our despair in the face of global catastrophe, the way in which our awareness of the impending destruction of the earth can exist beside the need to 'try happiness' today, to choose our own lives over the spiraling abyss....Evans affectingly molds and carves syntax to make tangible the contorted shape of experience at a time of impending catastrophe."
—David Woo, Poetry Foundation

“CJ Evans’s beautiful book, Lives, explores and circles around, into and out of what it means to be free and alive in a world where humans insist on war and environmental destruction. . . . The book is intimate, expansive, and in moments, willfully hopeful. As Evans writes: ‘here is a price I’ve exacted/to live, a shadow in which nothing else could grow, /but since I’m here I’d love.’”
—Victoria Chang, winner of the PEN Voelcker Award for OBIT

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