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Equilibrium by Tiana Clark

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by Tiana Clark

39 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4951-5764-6

Winner of the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition
selected by Afaa Michael Weaver

 

Description

 

Judge Afaa Michael Weaver had the following praise for Equilibrium:

Equilibrium searches for that point where there is a balance, even as the poems display a consciousness and self awareness that belie that balance. The poems negotiate the colossal movement of hearts figuring and being figured by history. This is a voice that knows the intelligence of passion, that moves through and inside the questioning of who we are in the structures of things we give the power to name us until a song sends us out to question the territory. The poet moves with the exactness of math or physics, with the fearful knowledge of careful imbalances that would have us believe in equilibrium, and with the assuredness of art that knows all is change, that the semblance of order is creation, something we are given the gift of imitating in some small way. The poems in this collection summon the largeness, the volume of a voice that disembodies itself in order to search for the love that made it whole.

Read a sample poem:

Particle Fever

(Mark Levinson, 2013)

They built a seventeen mile circle
to recreate the big bang,
how the laws of physics crash

like a drum beat of what makes us.
Your hand finding mine in the car ride home,
as white lines on the highway blur into memory.

I do not need to know every answer.
Give me a plane ride to question my ego.
When you are mad,

give me my first name in your mouth—
hard consonant of T,
said with the Tip of the Tongue.

What we speak into existence
like a drum beat of what makes us.
Give me a plane ride to question myself.

Aren’t we always flying,
into each other
into the mouth of the universe?

Could it be magic?
The white bunny we lift from the hat
like early fog on the road to work.

We discover foot by foot
how we grope for each other,
sway to music we don’t even hear.

There is always movement—
atoms bouncing around us
like a room full of endless balloons.

The seen and unseen world.
What wanted to be born out of nothing?
Mouth open—kiss ready:

lit with charge and wonder.

Particle Fever first appeared in Crab Orchard Review.

Tiana Clark is the author of the poetry collection, I Can’t Talk About the Trees Without the Blood (University of Pittsburgh Press, 2018), winner of the 2017 Agnes Lynch Starrett Prize, and Equilibrium (Bull City Press, 2016), selected by Afaa Michael Weaver for the 2016 Frost Place Chapbook Competition. Clark is a winner for the 2020 Kate Tufts Discovery Award (Claremont Graduate University), a 2019 National Endowment for the Arts Literature Fellow, and the 2015 Rattle Poetry Prize. She is a recipient of the 2021-2022 Amy Lowell Poetry Traveling Scholarship and 2019 Pushcart Prize. Clark is the 2017-2018 Jay C. and Ruth Halls Poetry Fellow at the Wisconsin Institute of Creative Writing. She is the recipient of scholarships and fellowships to the Bread Loaf Writers’ Conference, Sewanee Writers’ Conference, and Kenyon Review Writers Workshop. Clark is a graduate of Vanderbilt University (M.F.A) and Tennessee State University (B.A.) where she studied Africana and Women’s studies. Her writing has appeared in or is forthcoming from The New Yorker, Poetry Magazine, The Atlantic, The Washington Post, Virginia Quarterly Review, Tin House Online, Kenyon Review, BuzzFeed News, American Poetry Review, Oxford American, The Best American Poetry 2022, and elsewhere. She teaches at the Sewanee School of Letters. She is the Grace Hazard Conkling Writer-in-Residence at Smith College.

Clark is currently working on her next two books, Begging to be Saved, a memoir-in-essays reckoning with Black burnout, millennial divorce, faith, art making, and what lies on the other side of survival; and Scorched Earth, a poetry collection, tracing the complexities of relationship beginnings and endings, loneliness, desire, and joy, which sold to Jenny Xu at Atria.

Cover image: Amy Sherald, Equilibrium, 2012
Oil on canvas, 100 x 67 inches
Collection of the United States Embassy Dakar, Senegal
Courtesy the artist and Monique Meloche Gallery, Chicago

Additional information

Weight .35 lbs
Dimensions 5.5 × .25 × 8.5 in

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