Reception

Chard deNiord

The guests were sitting at their tableson the lawn, when suddenly I saw them risein a line and approach a door that openedonto a field of clover and rye.I was in awe of them, the way they stoodin the shadow of the door and sipped their wine.The way they laughed and cried.I watched a Cessna hum across the skyas something that was there for a whilein the form of pure idea, as somethingthat would burn one day like straw.I saw the endless line move along, move along,pulling me in like a cloud, forgetting everythingas they passed beneath the high dark beamof the door and were gone.

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Chard deNiord is the author of six books of poetry, most recently In My Unknowing (University of Pittsburgh Press 2020) and Interstate (U. of Pittsburgh, 2015). He is also the author of two books of interviews with eminent American poets: Sad Friends, Drowned Lovers, Stapled Songs, Conversations and Reflections on 20th Century Poetry (Marick Press, 2011) and I Would Lie To You If I Could (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018). He is a trustee of the Ruth Stone Trust, and Professor emeritus of English and Creative Writing at Providence College. From 2015 to 2019 he served as poet laureate of Vermont. He lives in Westminster West, Vermont with his wife, Liz.

"In My Unknowing, Chard deNiord’s sixth collection of poems, we find ourselves in a world beheld by the spark of seeing, on the border of Platonic emission: a world of salt sorrow and red lust, coterminous with everything at once. To read these poems is to float at a holy distance over the earth, herein recognized as the heaven it has always been, as no other place would do for living forever. It is a world about to evanesce, but is as yet legible to us in these masterful poems, which are in themselves a species of musical awareness."
—Carolyn Forché

"Always, Earth is the place of transformation. If ever there was a poet who answered the command in Rilke’s Ninth Elegy it’s deNiord. It’s thrilling how much he expects of language and experience, how little he takes for granted... In My Unknowing is charged with the pang of the insoluble mysteries: dreams, waking, the face of the one you love."
—Dennis Nurkse

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