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Interstate is a collection of lyrical poems in four sections that concentrate thematically on animals, love and sex, compassion, and loss. A unifying elegiac conceit, even in the more ecstatic and humorous poems, betrays the bittersweet nature of the book's muse. Alternating between free and formal verse, the poems contain a lyrical tension in which their "broken music" evokes metaphysical paradoxes, romantic humor, and the "dark sounds" that effect what Garcia Lorca called "the power everyone feels" in the mystery of duende "but no philosopher can explain."
Chard deNiord is the author of four previous poetry collections: The Double Truth, Night Mowing, Sharp Golden Thorn, and Asleep in the Fire. His poetry has appeared in The Pushcart Prize, The Best Poems from Thirty Years of the Pushcart Prize, The Best American Poetry, and in numerous journals. He is professor of English and creative writing at Providence College and cofounder of the New England College MFA program in poetry.
“Interstate seamlessly connects the state of knowing, in a worldly sense, to that knowing that is deeply felt yet unbodied. The precise attention to the ordinary things of the world, and in particular to the natural world, gives way to the wisdom of the spirit undergirding these searching poems. Reading them, I felt the delights of language in each new revelation: ‘Words were all; / they came to me like birds to a tree.’”
“Chard deNiord is a poet who stands firmly in a tradition that weaves Stevens’s philosophical daring to Whitman’s open and unending heart. Therefore, Interstate is a gem of a book about the intersection of light and dark, joy and pain. For deNiord, the erotic love poem can only exist if we can properly contrast it to the heart-breaking elegy. These poems refuse to be nailed down, but they insist on being grounded: ‘They sang ecstatically, as if it were morning,/ although the sky was heavy with evening/ and you could hear the silence in the sky/ beyond their singing.’”
“Interstate has a fierce engine that is both erotic and metaphysical. Eros occurs when states are crossed — bitter to sweet, mortal to immortal, conscious to unconscious. The metaphysical experience is like looking down a well. So, if readers look down its well and expect to see their reflection, they’ll be disappointed, and if they look down its well and expect to see heaven, they'll be disappointed, but if they want to see both, and can live in the shimmer, then this book is for them.”
“Here is a poet who goes again and again to the inherent beauty of Nature only to realize human consciousness works like a wedge to divide itself from that which it would love. This is a book of wisdom and affection, and because we sorely need those human efforts to reach the world beyond us, this is a necessary book.”
“Interstate navigates a world that is at once unsettlingly exterior and interior, as dreams underwrite the conscious perception of a realm equally strange and familiar.”
—J. Allyn Rosser
“Agile, quietly intelligent and steadily pleasurable.”