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Ailish Hopper

TJ Jarrett

Ailish Hopper is the author of Dark~Sky Society (New Issues), selected by David St. John, and the chapbook, Bird in the Head (Center for Book Arts), selected by Jean Valentine. Individual poems have appeared in journals including Agni, American Poetry Review, Harvard Review , Ploughshares , Poetry, and Tidal Basin Review, as well as many others. She has received support from the Maryland State Arts Council, the MacDowell Colony, Vermont Studio Center, and Yaddo, and teaches at Goucher College, in Baltimore.

http://www.ailishhopper.com/

 

Dark~Sky Society

Ain't No Grave Dark~Sky Society

$15.00 paper | 97 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936970-27-8
Publication Date: September 2014
Buy: Amazon.com | spdbooks.org | Barnes & Noble

“[T]he taut economy of Ailish Hopper’s syntax befits a chronicler bent on this government town’s nightly collapse of the personal and sociopolitical….Hopper’s poems dance on this divided skein with sculpted and oblique turns of phrase — lyrical arabesques constructed in terse verbal defiance….
Consider her verse coiled and sprung; and, to paraphrase an exalted homegrown colloquialism, ‘busted loose’.”
            — Greg Tate


“‘Not // I Have a dream // A cold, cold feeling’ closes Hopper’s “The Good Caucasian;”…these unsettling poems trace Hopper’s struggle to make sense of terrible legacies, from racial violence in the name of white female bodies to a father’s terminal illness as a site of private and public histories. Hopper’s lines halt, knot, interdigitate, and stutter, but they never flinch. She leaves that to the reader. What she doesn’t offer us are easy epiphanies, a bid for being a good caucasian, or post-race snake oil. This is difficult work for a time when ‘any touch/will bruise’. Dark~Sky Society insists we reach and be reached anyway.”
            —Douglas Kearney

“Everything about the book…says—You need to read this.”
            —Jake Adam York

Poem

Song of Whiteout and Blackache


         
   1

Well I’m so white,
when the lights go out, I glow in the dark.

So white, when I wear white clothes
all you see
are the stripes on my socks.

White
as the sun’s bare rays—iron-heavy
and hot.

White as the grass that’s decomposed,
bleached-away
by a leaf pile.

          
  2

Well I’m so black
when I walk at night
I absorb all the light of the stars.

So black—I can’t drink milk, sing
White Christmas,
drive a white car.

Black
as a vinyl record—issuing song,
not blood.

Black—as the ocean’s
depths, with fish, translucent,
unreal.