Poems that address interpersonal connections while navigating life and care amid disease and disaster. Collaboration runs through the heart of this collection. Human relationships-particularly in families-shape the poems in Blue in Green, as they consider how the question of what we expect from one another evolves into a question of what we owe. When cancer overshadows the ordinary-engrossing the labor of love, work, and friendship-disease becomes a collaborator and proposes new rules of exchange. The forms of Elliott' s works highlight reciprocity. Here you' ll find ekphrastic poems that describe modern jazz songs, letters and letter fragments, and free verse poems in wildly variable line lengths. "When I was a wave," the speaker repeats, each time telling a different story about intimacy and risk. Blue in Green moves through the struggle of processing the damaging interpersonal reverberations of racism, sexism, and environmental damage, while navigating intertwined personal and political incarnations of care. While a slow-growing disease burns its way through the speaker' s body, these poems reveal the feeling of perpetually existing in the shadow of catastrophe and document the slow and strange process of coming to terms with that way of living.
"Elliott' s quite amazing Blue in Green is an intricate series of forays and restatements, an ongoing investigation of the language of the world and a search less for ' meaning' than among versions of possibility, a search not unlike the sketches in the song that lends its title to the book, the song that takes the good listener beyond the song itself. And here, the good reader' s escorted past and beneath the terms of common capture and into reference as points of ecstatic departure, as openings. There' s startling power in Blue in Green, there' s news here that stays news. " -- C . S. Giscombe, author of Ohio Railroads "The material of Elliott' s Blue in Green- time, music, pleasure, dream, water, memory-all share one commonality: the reverberation of the past tense, which ebbs and flows like a wave into a perpetual present. This bleeding into serves as a language-game not unlike Wittgenstein' s theory of colour concepts. Each poem establishes a visual and sonic logic through linguistic image, a depiction of the way the past becomes a composite that is understood only as it transforms, like Elliott explains, ' As glitter is to lake,/ Like sunlight is to ache, like ache is to mountains. ' Elliott' s work is polyphonic; the past and present each have their own voice, an eventual harmony, like the sky falling into grass, like two seas mixing. The poems of Blue in Green are exquisite collages of time stopped and continuing. " -- Kimberly Grey, author of Systems for the Future of Feeling "Blue in Green is full of strange truths and a weaved, wonderful singing. Elliott' s poems perch and pry at the radiant seams of reality, her voice igniting the numinous verves between imagination and understanding. " -- Geffrey Davis, author of Night Angler "Elliott' s latest collection is a continuous love letter to all that we' ve lost. Yet instead of wailing or teeth-gnashing or rebuking the thing that has stolen that love, Blue in Green, brings us close, reminding us to cling to that which makes love worth loving in the first place, ' Let summer wash its face/and stand in the pasture/and gather up its green buttons. ' Let Blue in Green be the book that rewards its readers with the seamless confluence of dream-life and real-life, awaking us to the fact that recovery takes time, but also takes unwavering examination. " -- F. Douglas Brown, author of ICON
Chiyuma Elliott is assistant professor of African American studies at the University of California, Berkeley and the author of At Most, California Winter League, and Vigil. A former Stegner Fellow, Elliott has published poems in the African American Review, Notre Dame Review, PN Review, and Callaloo, among others. She has received fellowships from the American Philosophical Society, Cave Canem, and the Vermont Studio Center.