Congratulations to Clif Mason for winning our book contest!
This book-length poem is a magical realist journey, catalyzed by war and grief. The speaker walks, impelled toward the restorative idea of the stark earthly beauty and purity represented by Antarctica, and toward the love that he knows will be awaiting him. That love, and the creative and magical power it embodies, is both encouraging and sustaining. Of course, the journey takes the protagonist deep into both beauty and evil. The journey is born of desperation, but it is carried out through acts of will and grit and openness to experience, as well as a desire to actively re-envision and recreate reality. Poetry for fans of Gabriel García Márquez, Isabelle Allende, Laura Esquivel, and Pablo Neruda.
"To read Clif Mason's lines is to stagger through the shimmering ruins of a darkening apocalypse, where the only salvation is the troubled beauty of the journey, and to find, somehow, that beauty is enough. 'We have this brief time, ' his lines remind us. 'Walk with me, ' they say. And we do."
-- Joseph Fasano author of The Dark Heart of Every Wild Thing
"Do you want a journey AND a love story? This poem delivers both, plus an invitation (and a template) to ". . . take this leaden hour and make it gold."
-- Marjorie Saiser, author of The Woman in the Moon
"The Book of Night & Waking is an expansive, expressive, heartfelt act of witness. From ghosted, forever out-of-reach American ideals through poignant personal landscapes, this compact and explosive chapbook, composed with a burning passion and infinite compassion, transcends contemporary politics to surprise, enlighten, and terrify us with its elegiac experimentations that, were he writing today, Whitman would be proud of. These are songs that "wreathe us like smoke". These are songs that truly "play through me, / through you, / through endless night & waking."
-- John Sibley Williams, author of As One Fire Consumes Another & Skin Memory
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