The Adjacent Possible


From The Adjacent Possible, “Summer”

A green green thickly
emergent, fully fragrant
leaves before a fall

Each one a deep green
steeped in successive waves
of light rumble and burst
above equilibrium. It is
the most bodied,
the most seeming.

About The Adjacent Possible,
Winner of the 2019 Hopper Poetry Prize

forthcoming from Green Writers Press in 2020

Judge’s citation: “Gorgeously spare, hypnotic, the poems in The Adjacent Possible are a meditation on an “adjacent” possibility “[w]ithout I, without / you,” the insight that “the joint of two not solids . . . is no joint at all.” The poems in this collection beckon to the relationship of all beings, examine the “flurried noises” of language, the “substrata” of consciousness that distinguishes seer and seen, the eye the “gracejoint.” Following the arc of seasons, “particulars” of landscape “accrete,” imitate the “brief echoes of / an objective real” as filtered through the gaze of “one” who “still looks out” on ones that “sound” and “speak.” The language is part play, part theory: winter with its “edges fringed with wintersedge,” spring when “Lilies wave by / lovely / lovely,” when “the is larks / through utter night, skirrs / at the hum of dawn,” summer “most bodied, / the most seeming.” This “radiant” poetic force, as heralded in the epigraph from Édouard Glissant, animates the “mind’s infoldings,” “ghosts of / patterns, wisps crossing / an interior eye,” reduces to glance the “cloudlight [that] tinks / at the atomic.” In the narrative arc, summer leaves us in the tenuous moment when the “I / come into iridescence” perceives its shift from one to “we,” asks “if we [can] conjure beyond / a useless symbolic, without / order / unalone, no one.” It interrogates how we “scaffold the abstract / fortifying the angles” of existence. The question of spring—“What is an I if / alone?”—is recollected at the end, in late summer, but with intensity exacted over time: “will you be / still by me, still possible?”

—Kathleen Hellen, author of Umberto’s Night