We Don’t Have to Share a Fate

Gillian Conoley

We don't have to share a fate,we don't have to draw shameful conclusions.After the shutter releases,I want you in the multiple,in the glacial carriage,in the snake cloister,in the closet fullof guitars and stomped hay,in the exhalation of others,all swaying with love, but changing midwaythrough the wordsI address to you, my handpressed to yours visiblymuch palerthan before, an orchidoffered beneath a warring sky,an orchid that yawnsand cracks open and falls apartunexpected in a bed of soft clothes,where your shoulders became two steps,dawns fruits rivers and knives,full glottal, wide lensand your hands became two countries,and my legs murmured like grass,a dumb love,a tether to all dreams of enduring,long convoy between two powerskilling the mockery of wordswhile daylight floats,orchids, white dogs stretched out between the slow-burning lanterns.

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Gillian Conoley’s A Little More Red Sun on the Human: New and Selected Poems, with Nightboat Books, won the 39th annual Northern California Book Award in 2020. She received the 2017 Shelley Memorial Award for lifetime achievement from the Poetry Society of America, and was also awarded the Jerome J. Shestack Poetry Prize, a National Endowment for the Arts grant, and a Fund for Poetry Award. She is the author of seven previous books, including PEACE, an Academy of American Poets Standout Book. Conoley’s translations of three books by Henri Michaux, Thousand Times Broken, appeared in 2014 with City Lights. Conoley is Poet-in-Residence and Professor of English at Sonoma State University where she edits Volt.

Brooklyn, New York

WINNER of the 39TH NORTHERN CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD IN POETRY

FINALIST for the 89TH CALIFORNIA BOOK AWARD IN POETRY

SHORTLISTED for the 2019 GOLDEN POPPY BOOK AWARD IN POETRY

"Like a movie camera panning from one spot to another, Conoley’s early poems carry us into an oddly familiar world without ever landing in a well-known terrain, such as transcendent revelation. Starting out with poems set in Texas, where the poet grew up, Conoley moves—literally and figuratively—into a wider, deeper world."
—John Yau, Hyperallergic

"Masterfully composed in the hot spaces and so rhythmic sounds Americans have put to their times. ‘Like gold into scar/a twister in the skull.'"
—Alice Notley

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