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Midnights (Artist/Poet Collaboration Series)

af Jane Miller

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1011,875,365 (3)Ingen
Poet Jane Miller collaborates with artist Beverly Pepper on a highly personal journey through the debris of the poet's crumbling relationship, and her mother's descent into illness. Beautifully rendered poems and short chapters of poetic prose combine with Pepper's chalk and oil drawings to form an intimate and unique meditation on the nature of love, of heartache, of the many midnights we, each and every one of us, live through and carry with us through our lives. "The goal is not to make sense of, but art of this story," writes poet C.D. Wright in her introduction. "The goal is not to make a story but to experience the whole mess. There are mental sufferings and physical sufferings to go through; to apprehend if one can. There are the spent casings of history to sift through, pick up and examine. Calm-like, hysterical, forensic. This life not just a worn passage." In the end, the light shines through Miller's midnights and the rewards of passing through the darkness with her are countless.… (mere)
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Although essentially prose (if what is meant by essence is form)Midnights can just as well (as in, I am doing very well, thank you) be called poetry. If for no other reason than that Miller is best known as a poet. Midnights was published by Saturnalia as number 4 in a series of collaborations between artists and writers. Miller's prose/poetry has been fortuitously paired here with the black and white oil stick drawings of Beverly Pepper. With their hatch-lines and massed shapes, the drawings, while not illustrative, serve well to reinforce/ re-express the emotional intensity (grief, anxiety, pain)of Miller's words.
I bought this book at the University of Arizona bookstore (where Miller is a Prof of English) while on vacation in Tucson and in complement to her A Palace of Pearls, which I purchased in the same bookstore on almost the same vacation a year ago. Such personal details (references) are entirely in keeping with the book itself, which is a weave or relationship of such details: the senile debility of a mother, the shattering breakup of lover and beloved (how one fights for love and mourns for love by tooth and claw, by dream and drug and discipline). Everyone is named in Midnights. No one remains anonymous. Or so we are told. There are the suicides, the precursors, Celan and Woolf. And the famous and the unfamous dead: the girls thrown out of the bed of a pickup; Anne Frank in Amsterdam, 1944; the lover's murdered first love, the "husband"-friend's father's blowing his brains out, etc. But there is much more: art, music, food, too much drink, beaches, hotel rooms and private residences in many locales (Berkeley, Tucson, Amsterdam, Italy, China . . .). There are so many friends.
Miller's self-absorption inlove and loss, however, wears me out. ( )
  Paulagraph | May 25, 2014 |
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Poet Jane Miller collaborates with artist Beverly Pepper on a highly personal journey through the debris of the poet's crumbling relationship, and her mother's descent into illness. Beautifully rendered poems and short chapters of poetic prose combine with Pepper's chalk and oil drawings to form an intimate and unique meditation on the nature of love, of heartache, of the many midnights we, each and every one of us, live through and carry with us through our lives. "The goal is not to make sense of, but art of this story," writes poet C.D. Wright in her introduction. "The goal is not to make a story but to experience the whole mess. There are mental sufferings and physical sufferings to go through; to apprehend if one can. There are the spent casings of history to sift through, pick up and examine. Calm-like, hysterical, forensic. This life not just a worn passage." In the end, the light shines through Miller's midnights and the rewards of passing through the darkness with her are countless.

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