'Nocturnes' by David Olsen
A poet and professionally produced playwright with a BA in chemistry from University of California-Berkeley and an MA in creative writing from San Francisco State University, David Olsen was formerly an energy economist, management consultant, and performing arts critic. He has lived in Oxford, England, since 2002.
This is his fourth full-length collection. His Unfolding Origami (2015) won the Cinnamon Press Poetry Collection Award, and Past Imperfect (2019) is also from Cinnamon Press. After Hopper & Lange, another full-length poetry collection, was published by Oversteps Books earlier in 2021. Poetry chapbooks from US publishers include Exit Wounds (2017), Sailing to Atlantis (2013), New World Elegies (2011), and Greatest Hits (2001).
"Nocturnes confirms David Olsen as a poet of increasing surety and depth. The language is fresh, supple and embodied. The snow that packs around silver birches is not so much weather as memory accruing in drifts and hollows, and we see the dark releasing stars ‘from cerulean confinement / to indigo liberty’. But the pressure on language is not only in finely tuned and distinctive imagery, but also in the interrogation of the medium of poetry itself: words.
How do they carry their load of emotional resonance, and how does this play into our illusions? How do we actually become language? How do the impressions of a scene cohere into narrative?
There are huge questions at work here: deeply personal, existential, but also ethical and political. Whether exploring the pursuit of sleep at night, or the ‘deadly virus’ of ‘inbred bigotry’, there is a humane intelligence at work in these poems, one with the courage and vulnerability to face ‘the months of silence’, admit to the visions of memory that go on ‘wrestling with the dark’. Ultimately, it is the tenderness of losses and wounds – and the exquisite poignancy and grace with which they are faced – that sets Nocturnes apart as a collection of heart-breaking elegance."
~ Dr Jan Fortune, Editor and Publisher, Cinnamon Press
Papaerback, 148 x 210mm, 72 pages
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