The 26-Hour Day
Poetry. "Olivia Clare keeps what Emily Dickinson called 'Esoteric Time.' In the title poem, a dark berceuse, the hour is 'black bear o'clock, ' a spell beyond tell-able time for which not even the 26 letters of the alphabet, evoked by the title, are a guaranteed talisman. 'Cryonics' admonishes a depressed friend, 'caught / in an hourglass neck / of cells not dividing, ' to 'revive: / child the father / of the sand.' References to seconds, minutes, hourglasses, sands, clocks, gnomon, dials, and all manner of measuring, counting, and 'telling' time abound, as the speaker, with widdershins pluck, provocatively reverses, transgresses, and teases such limitations to fashion worlds that exempt themselves from any static or linear notion of past, present, future, or place. By attempting to word this ineffable, manifold 'within' time, Clare conjures a cosmological wunderkammer, '[k]indred, in a flickering place.'" Lisa Russ Spaar"
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- Paperback | 67 pages
- 149.86 x 210.82 x 7.62mm | 181.44g
- 22 Oct 2015
- Western Michigan University, New Issues Press
- United States
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"The poems in Olivia Clare's The 26-Hour Day are both temptingly elusive and engagingly allusive. Initially, I absorbed these poems more than understood them, entranced by an image or metaphor or sonic effect. Eventually, what I experienced was not understanding but recognition, as I found myself accompanied by a congenial sensibility without quite realizing how. Syntactically, these poems are direct, their vocabulary deceptively ordinary, with first lines beginning subject-verb-object: "Silence commemorates an exit," "I'll speak a dove," "Little Enoch learned his colors from lettered blocks." As Coleridge instructs us, however, poetry depends not simply on the best words but also on their best order. Clare's ability to surprise by juxtaposing her particular subjects, verbs, and objects is what most intriguingly characterizes her style. She is dexterous enough with language to obey all the rules and also make it new. "Numbers," for example, exploits the strategies of catalogue and ekphrasis in order to question what we know of art, history, music, and perception. The poem describes museum visits, considering both classic and postmodern art forms, until the speaker "stood in the center beneath / a mosaic of squares painted 88 shades / between white and black." I did not anticipate this last line, and reading it encouraged me to reconsider my response to the entire poem. I felt similarly about many of the poems here, regardless of their length or form, and also about the entire book. With each poem, The 26-Hour Day became clearer and more complex, which means, ultimately, more and more fun to read."--Lynn Domina "Kenyon Review"
About Olivia Clare
OLIVIA CLARE'S poems have appeared in Poetry, Southern Review, Notre Dame Review, London Magazine, and other journals. Short stories have appeared in journals including Southern Review, Yale Review, Kenyon Review Online, and Ecotone. Her awards for poetry include the Olive B. O'Connor Fellowship at Colgate University and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. For her fiction, she's received an O. Henry Award and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award.