To Light Out

To Light Out

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Author: Karen Weiser

Publisher: Ugly Duckling Presse (2010)

Finalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America

"The poems in To Light Out enact a kind of mystical belief—call it a faith—that language is the means by which we conjure the self and its relationship with others. In Weiser's hands, poems are language illuminated by grace, and the world, in light of such sudden sight, becomes 'The distance into versions of itself / whose miles begin to resemble pale maps / old photographs with studied shadow / inside each female self / composed like a nineteenth century diorama / all heft and movement of hands.' The meditative variation at play in this ambitious collection shines forth brilliantly, at any hour of the day or night."

–Susan Howe

"Karen Weiser's To Light Out more than lives up to the motto: 'monstrous in largesse.' 'Leaf[ing] through the puns of our shared musical scope,' she is 'a trader in cryptic intelligences' who recognizes that 'each word is a room built around us.' Wandering inside these vast miniscule palaces, she listens closely, traveling 'as far as you can hear,' toward 'originary moments'––the Big Bang whose sounds are still expanding through time and space, and 'when you yourself are the egg-cup.' To read and thus hear Weiser 'light out' is to be entranced by the 'continual discovery' suffusing these vatic poems 'risen from bodily thought.'"

–John Yau

"Weiser's figures of speech are gloriously two-headed and unpredictable . . . [her] best poems make stellar examples for T.S. Eliot's famous claim that true poems can communicate before they are understood."

–Stephen Burt

"Reader, 'your ear's memory palace' reminds us often while reading these exquisite poems of the wild soul beneath the din of our metallic world. Karen Weiser writes for the courage of every breathing thing, a static of cells driven not from the compulsion to form, but from the eagerness to be, stuttering forth to light out. Here, and wherever we take ourselves after reading these poems, they remain as cells themselves: a live thing we will call with our own names. In my quest for poetry of use, Karen Weiser has shown me how fitting myself into 'the chapel of a bird's body / is any body / breathing with ink.'"

–CA Conrad