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Edited by Jon Thompson
Information and Pricing
978-1-64317-273-6 (paperback, $14.99); 978-1-64317-274-3 (PDF, $9.99); 978-1-64317-275-0 (EPUB, $9/99). © 2022 by Parlor Press, 88 pages
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What People Are Saying
"Perhaps it is because Giles Goodland once toiled as lexicographer that the language of these restless poems teeters on the edge of verbal misbehavior and catachresis: “the lung inversely tree hangs / between early morning’s porch- / light.” Like a sputtering circuit of grimy lamps, these intricate reports illuminate patches of the topography of a life, knowing at heart that the quotidian will only rarely ignite into flame before it dies back. Expecting but not presuming failure, these poems appear at first glance like still-lifes, distilled and companionable, yet they also thrum incongruously with a vitality entirely indebted to the poet’s meticulous wordsmithing—like a hand, or a limb, showing no visible trace disturbance, yet seething beneath the skin with stimulants injected into the bloodstream."
— Daniel Tiffany, author of Cry Baby Mystic
About This Book
Civil Twilight occurs when the center of the Sun is six degrees below the horizon. It is also a phrase in which the vowels are all ‘i’s. The first pair of ‘i’s is pronounced soft, the second hard. Two pairs of ‘i’s stare at each other across a gap. Civilization (with four ‘i’s) gives place to night-time, and then replaces it, in a daily cycle. The sounds of words are not always arbitrary. In poems that explore transitions into adulthood, the family is a constellation that becomes visible under certain conditions, and then moves apart. Urban twilights are observed and felt in the interstices of other activities: traveling to and from work, running, walking to the shops.
Civil Twilight combines diverse strands of modernism with earlier forms of flightiness, particularly that of laudanuminous nineteenth-century philologists filling their notebooks late into the night, believing briefly that they have explained everything, or, perhaps, at least described it. A love of the conversational and nocturnal Coleridge has been overlain with an attempt to journalize the dailiness of a life that is found to be both confusing and routine. Wallace Stevens has been a companion on these commutes into language, with the diction of Rosemary Tonks, while along the way Goodland has seized upon the BART poems of Ron Silliman and the language-alert writings of Vahni Capildeo.
About the Author
Giles Goodland grew up in the rural west of England and now lives in West London. He has worked as a researcher and then an editor of the Oxford English Dictionary. He has published numerous papers on early modern literature and language and now lectures for Oxford University’s Department of Continuing Education. His poetry books include Littoral (Oversteps, Devon, 1996), A Spy in the House of Years (Leviathan, 2001), Capital (Salt, Cambridge, 2006), What the Things Sang (Shearsman, Exeter, 2009), The Dumb Messengers (Salt, 2012), Gloss (Knives Forks and Spoons, Manchester, 2016), The Masses (Shearsman, 2018).