a Year & other poems by Jos Charles
From the celebrated author of feeld comes a formally commanding third collection, dexterously recounting the survival of a period suffused with mourning.
Jos Charles’s poems communicate with one another as neurons do: sharp, charged, in language that predates language. “A scandal / three cartons red / in a hedge / in / each the thousand eye research of flies.” With acute lyricism, she documents how a person endures seemingly relentless devastation—California wildfires, despotic legislation, housing insecurity—amid illusions of safety. “I wanted to believe,” Charles declares, “a corner a print leaned to / a corner can save / a people.” Still the house falls apart. Death visits and lingers. Belief proves, again and again, that belief alone is not enough.
Yet miraculously, one might still manage to seek—propelled by love, or hope, or sometimes only momentum—something better. There is a place where there are no futile longings, no persistent institutional threats to one’s life. Poems might take us there; tenderness, too, as long as we can manage to keep moving. “A current / gives as much as it has,” writes Charles—despite fire, despite loss.
Harrowing and gorgeous, a Year & other poems is an astonishing new collection from a poet of “unusual beauty and lyricism” (New Yorker).
Jos Charles is the author of a Year and other poems and feeld, a finalist for the Pulitzer Prize and Los Angeles Times Book Prize and winner of the 2017 National Poetry Series, selected by Fady Joudah. She is also the author of Safe Space, a finalist for the Lambda Literary Award. In 2016, she received the Ruth Lilly and Dorothy Sargent Rosenberg Fellowship through the Poetry Foundation. Jos Charles received an MFA from the University of Arizona. She is a PhD student at UC Irvine and currently resides in Long Beach, California.