Joanna Klink, “Raptus,” at New Dominion November 11

Coming to New Dominion Bookshop

Joanna Klink will present poems from her new collection,


Thursday, November 11 at 5:30 PM

In her poetry, Joanna Klink aspires to “a world where isolation falls away and separateness is eased …[where] every silence is instructive, every perception part of a widening movement of voice and light and air, so that it is possible to be full there, it is possible to feel the very shape of change.” In Raptus, Klink turns her gaze to the moments that follow the end of a relationship, searching in that silence for instruction and meaning.

In “What Is (War)” she writes, “My beloved, if it has come to this / I will try to understand.” Easier said than done, but the saying of it inspires a series of expansive, breathtaking reflections on what has transpired. The pain of remembering what has been lost seems unbearable, but “If I let go what will be left. Too hard / to sort each sorrow from each joy.” Though it’s impossible to return to that place where “the light traveled back and forth, just audible, between us” Klink’s perspective is not bleak. When the individual (and her accompanying sadness) blur into the world at large we see that “To each belongs the corrections of light / suffering that shall not heal, the singing that lifts / —washed, unwinged—from a small boat at sea.” Loss is a shared burden that the world must collectively shoulder.

Praise for Raptus:

“In Raptus, Joanna Klink fearlessly inscribes, in consummate lyric art, a bearing of profound loss not often brought to utterance, but she has done so—musically, beautifully, in tensile language, in a vertiginous form all her own that transports us from one consciousness to another. This is a poet who knows which losses are irreparable, and also the suffering that shall not heal, the singing that lifts—washed, unwinged—and is nevertheless heard on every page. Klink is a genuine poet, a born poet, and I am in awe of her achievement.” —Carolyn Forché

“Joanna Klink’s new work is wrought from a kind of spiritual exactitude. Even through her numinous cortège of aching, a wild kindness keeps the poems aloft. When she writes (of poetry itself) ‘I held it to my throat unabashed,’ you believe her. She does not flinch.” —Lucie Brock-Broido

“To say that Raptus is heart-breaking is to tell only half the story. The book is, in fact, uplifting. Here is a poet abiding desire as both the sharp-beaked raptor for whom we are undone into carrion and the radiant rapture that draws us heavenward, that scatters us among the stars. Not only does Joanna Klink aspire to the firmament, she arrives.” —D. A. Powell

“In every generation of American poets, there seems to be one collection which, however gently, however tactfully, changes the tone and sets a new direction. John Ashbery’s Rivers and Mountains was one such, and Jorie Graham’s Erosion was another. I am deeply convinced that Raptus very soon will prove to be among that company. Joanna Klink has moved human relationship to a vatic, visionary place, and we are changed.” —Donald Revell

About the author:

Joanna Klink is the author of two books of poetry, They Are Sleeping and Circadian. Her work has appeared in Chicago Review, Boston Review, and other journals. She is teaching at Harvard University.



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