Aphoria by Jackie Clark

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  • Jackie Clark

Clark is a quiet poet but not a retiring one. She watches from the storm’s eye, uncovering what is threatening and contagious about our existence. -Boston Review

I keep visiting Jackie Clark’s Aphoria, and trying to determine how much of my admiration for it derives from the poems themselves and how much comes from what extraordinarily masterful evidence it marshals on behalf of confusion. -The Constant Critic

Clark’s attempts to connect the abstract decor of the psyche and the inorganic and organic furnishings of a personal life are bracing and alluring. -The Huffington Post

Aphoria
by Jackie Clark

Pub Date: March 1, 2013
72 pages
ISBN: 978-1-936767-17-5

Cover Art by Shane McAdams

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Jackie Clark’s poetics is a poetics of spying on the prismatic philosophical underpinnings of fate. We live and love in her hopes and surrenders.

Jenny Boully

Few poets have the ability to record the gossamer strands of their own cognitions as Jackie Clark does. The poems in Aphoria are miraculous in the way they map a topology of quotidian thought in unassuming yet radiant language. Aphoria is something like a blueprint for the invisible architecture of the human soul. Not so much the soul that belongs to Jackie Clark, but the one that belongs to and connects all of us.

Ben Mirov

Aphoria constellates fragments of memory, cityscape, images, & imaginings into serial poems both contemplative & seductive. It draws the reader into an embrace. Through this, the book develops an epistemology of gravity, of holding, countered by the inevitable failure to accurately remember being held. These hushed & biting lyrics are centripetal, circling the arcane core of a person’s experience

Mathias Svalina

Lynn Melnick, Boston Review:

“The poems in Jackie Clark’s powerful, spare, and stealthy debut each take the same wordless title—“( ),” a pair of parentheses not so much empty as framing space for the intangible, for everything unsaid or unnoticed in between the stuff of daily life….Clark is a quiet poet but not a retiring one. She watches from the storm’s eye, uncovering what is threatening and contagious about our existence….These poems, so reflective of our contemporary exhaustion, are executed with impressive precision. But Aphoria isn’t all caution against the hollow and the hamster wheel; these are often weary, tender love poems, persevering despite the danger of the world and the disconnection and despair we sometimes feel….Clark’s is a voice that refuses to join in the madness or be drowned out by it, and the beauty that results is a pleasure to read.”

Ray McDanielThe Constant Critic:

“I keep visiting Jackie Clark’s Aphoria, and trying to determine how much of my admiration for it derives from the poems themselves and how much comes from what extraordinarily masterful evidence it marshals on behalf of confusion. Aphoria is gorgeously complex without being complicated, and even though she shouldn’t be valued in such reductive terms, Clark proves that the properties that inspire such dislike of poetry—that it either must tell you what it means or else mean anything at all—are neither vices to be deplored or values to be assumed. “All doors do / something different,” she writes: their structural ambivalence is a set trait with endless expressions, and yes, proven here with the fastidious joinery of a door hung perfectly on its frame.”

Seth Abramson, The Huffington Post:

“Clark’s attempts to connect the abstract decor of the psyche and the inorganic and organic furnishings of a personal life are bracing and alluring. These brief, aggressively-enjambed poems offer several memorable turns of phrase apiece, and never fail to honor the small spaces in which we live as well as the broad expanses mapped by our anxieties, emotional proclivities, and hard-won first principles. None of the poems are titled, and few run longer than a page, but this is only appropriate for a poetics as exquisitely attuned to the minute as this one is.”

Drew Swenhaugen, Tin House:

“If foria is the misalignment of the eyes, or when the eyes are unable to concentrate on one object, then what is aphoria? The non-misalignment of sight? Are we looking straight on then, without trouble? The title brings to mind aporia, some impassable path. So what are we seeing then during the “spacewalk / while fingers / hypnotically roll / invisible balls / back and forth / between / their tips”? That’s so Derrida.”

Douglas Piccinnini, The Volta Blog:

Between people, between things, Clark’s speaker navigates the visible and invisible constructs of urban anxiety and the speculative currency of self-hood. . . . The urgency of these poems succeeds in an ability to offer the feeling-ness of a situation over the situation itself and act as markers of the credulity of experience.

Interview with Coldfront Magazine

Jackie Clark

Jackie Clark is the series editor of Poets off Poetry and Song of the Week for Coldfront Magazine. She is the recipient of a 2012 New Jersey State Council on the Arts Fellowship in Poetry, a contributing writer for The Rumpus, and is the author of three chapbooks: Office Work (Greying Ghost Press), Red Fortress (H_NGM_N), and I Live Here Now (Lame House Press). Jackie lives in Jersey City and can be found online at nohelpforthat.com.

( )

The coyote-

lemon horizon

returns

I limit

the tea-trade

and disperse

expectations

throwing them

by the handful

at everything

I remember

but I don’t

remember much

 

( )

We enjoy

the prospect

of gathering

lightning bugs

The foibles of men

poke around under

rocks, applying

meaning

to their solitary

spacewalk

while fingers

hypnotically roll

invisible balls

back and forth

between

their tips

 

( )

The falling white,
each pore
open to dynasty and decline.

Even the cavern of wonder is without wonder.

If I had wanted to be you
I would.

 

( )

Overflow,
the repository gathers,
thick water,
a falling in public,
of private space engaged with surface areas,
even with labels, each retelling discloses pent up attributes,
it is vague,
it is a story of my person, my compass,
guided by a piece of string,
situational relations,
neck bone open to the sky,
touching is so abstract,
the sky space unto the new window,
meteorological cures,
private nights,
departure embrace before fleeing,
before adjudicating gardens,
miles of scenic travel erasing the decade,
why betray the inner ocean,
why invite commentary,
or the inventory of unused powers,
whether to lay low or prowl,
to let laurels rest where they deserve to rest,
formulas institute formulas,
love institutes love,
for all the wandering,
a stationary place pours,
out from within

 

( )

Swallow locations,
minefields detonate as per order,
prolong the anti-effacing,
prolong the darkness,
how quickly we forget,
the new glass I sit behind,
you who lacks my physical sense,
how many late nights,
when did this become a quantified investment,
but I am lucky,
no longer interested in guiding your horse,
I might as well be alone in a field,
I might as well let my tits hang out,
the rest of this is just some fabricated protocol,
and I know how to fuck myself