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Author: Rachel Blau DuPlessis

Publisher: selva oscura press (2023)

With lyric panache and social emotions annealed together, Daykeeping exposes the mercurial feelings and stunned observations about the year 2020 with the amazing spectrum, characteristic of Rachel Blau DuPlessis’s work, of poetry and essay-poem responses. Formally effervescent, emotionally mercurial, in a unique texture, DuPlessis responds to that first year of Covid lockdown with a stunning account of 2020’s crises and wounds. She repeatedly examines the “under-seen” and reveals its “under-scene.” Fixed in the interior exile of Covid’s narrow space, the poet struggles for a sense of sociality—questioning pronouns, historical events, dreams, and she chronicles her own responses. The book mixes dreams, chants, imprecations, analysis, outrages, sadness, and multiple interrogations in an abstract calendar mixing inner experience, and developing a personal, socio-political, racial, and quotidian archive. With her ethics of salvage and her haunted investigations, DuPlessis probes both the realist array and the hallucinatory unreality of the year 2020, with empathy, wit, self-questioning, and an ethical aesthetic. Daykeeping is a work of unmatched patterns, scintillating emotions, and dynamic responsiveness.

“'There are times you must stand where you are.' 2020 was the year each of us realized, in isolation, how entangled we are with our time and place, with our terrible and gorgeous histories, and with every other vulnerable human being on our planet. In the polyvocal text of Daykeeping, DuPlessis records our solitary and communal tragedies and terrors with 'implacable watchfulness, catalyzed syntax, attentive honesty and embodied thinking.' Here, through a variety of forms, encounters, illuminations, and examinations, she registers, brilliantly, a 'society in mourning, forlorn, orphaned, and enraged beyond containment.'”

Elizabeth T. Gray, Jr.