New Collection from Professor Emerita Susan Tichy

New Collection from Professor Emerita Susan Tichy

Susan Tichy, professor emerita of Mason's Creative Writing Program, has a new collection, North | Rock | Edge, available from Parlor Press.

From the publisher's description:

North | Rock | Edge is a walker’s encounter with the coasts of Shetland, testing what the lyric can do on the fractal edge between language & a planet’s / broken / openness.

In somatic memory of days on foot, in carried shards of rhythm and thought, & in the real time of their composition, the poems voice both landscape & inscape, to altar what we cannot alter, be it the planetary energy of cliffs & waves or the irreversible environmental damages we have authored and now fear. From first to last, a reader is asked to define a coast—as line, boundary, fractal form, ecotone, landing place, & geological remnant, both generator and recipient of tremendous forces.

The Shetland archipelago lies on the 60th parallel—half as long as the equator & twothirds of the way to the Pole—a border-land where almostnorth gives way to North, a sensation of place impervious to political boundaries, though not to anthropogenic change.

Extending the collage practice of earlier books, in this new work Tichy drills core samples from others’ poems—reading / vertically / what had been laid down / horizontally—creating fragments dense with allusion and sound, yet small enough to carry in her fast-moving lines, along with wind, light, tides, and currents; cliff-edges and storm-beaches; rocks, birds, plants, paths, and plastic. The speaker’s attention divides, coheres, and divides again, carried by the forward-pushing, uneven rhythms of walking a varied terrain.

"North | Rock | Edge continues Susan Tichy's commitment to thinking on foot, to making poetic language immersive and bound to the ecological specifics of place," writes poet Brian Teare. "Here her poiesis takes shape largely in the ecotone between dune and sea, on the rocky shores and at the wrack-lines of the Shetland Islands. The resulting poems reflect the never-ending flux and eternal contingency of tidal places; choppy waves of fluent musical phrasing get caught up in jump-cuts before vanishing into salt-tinged white space. Over the arc of this remarkable book, reading Shetland with body and mind transforms into a nearly apophatic 'transcorporeal' ecstasy as chill and wind-blown and total as the elements themselves."

Tichy is the author of six previous books, most recently The Avalanche Path in Summer (Ahsahta, 2019), a muscle-memory of a life in mountains, and Trafficke (Ahsahta, 2015), a mixed-form investigation of family, race, and language spanning from Reformation Scotland to the abolition of slavery in Maryland. She has written extensively about war and its human consequences, including the volumes Gallowglass (Ahsahta, 2010), Bone Pagoda (Ahsahta, 2007), and A Smell of Burning Starts the Day (Wesleyan, 1988). Her first book The Hands in Exile (Random House, 1983) was selected for the National Poetry Series.

North | Rock | Edge is available for purchase here.