Danielle Vogel is an alchemist of language, time, and the body. Reading A Library of Light, I almost expected my thoughts to materialize in front of me. What a strange, intense pleasure it is to feel the categories dissolving, to be allowed to accompany Vogel in her journey 'through the door of [her] mother's body' and into all the light she both finds and makes beyond.
- Heather Christle, author of The Crying Book
When poet Danielle Vogel began writing meditations on the syntax of earthen and astral light, she had no idea that her mother's tragic death would eclipse the writing of that book, turning her attention to grief's syntax and quiet fields of cellular light in the form of memory. Written in elegant, crystalline prose poems, A Library of Light is a memoir that begins and ends in an incantatory space, one in which light speaks. At the book's center glows a more localized light: the voice of the poet as she reflects, with ceremonial patience, on the bioluminescence of the human body, language's relationship to lineage, her mother's journals written during years of estrangement from her daughter, and the healing potential of poetry. A mesmerizing elegy infused with studies of epigenetic theory and biophotonics, A Library of Light shows that to language is to take part in transmission, transmutation of energy, and sonic (re)patterning of biological light.
February 6, 2024
Wesleyan University Press
Vogel gifts us the body of the book and the carefully woven nest as twinned shelters—stays against our own ephemerality. Her lyrical meditations plait the threads of body and language into a beautiful 'architecture for that secret unsayable center.'
- Amaranth Borsuk, author of The Book
EDGES & FRAY is an embodied meditation on the ways we build and inhabit language. Interweaving close observation of the material composition of birds' nests with a delicate examination of what it means to be a writer and a reader, Danielle Vogel attunes us to the hardly noticed but fundamental threads by which we entangle ourselves into the world. The frayed edges of consciousness are carefully arranged to open and respond to the presence of others, to shift and rearrange with every reading. Experimental and deeply grounded, this work is lyrical and patient. The text creates overlapping ecological fields, wherein each field is a system always in a state of becoming. Edges & Fray is personal without feeling private, experimental without feeling programmatic. Its construction is intuitive and masterful, its many threads interwoven and intrinsically linked. This is a beautiful and inspiring book at the intersection of poetry, somatics, ecology, and divination.
January 7, 2020
Wesleyan University Press
In Danielle Vogel’s heartbreakingly gorgeous The Way a Line Hallucinates Its Own Linearity, she digs underneath the skin of the body, language, and the book, to scratch toward a haunting absence. To tend to and hold that absence—to stroke it—requires Vogel’s patient yet urgent series of utterances. A vibrational pull that won’t let us go results, a crackling cry in the ache of night, a sensate break into another sphere, a lit passion, a new blues. Yes to these poems’ redemptive resilience, their fracture and their blur. Yes, yes, yes. I am reminded of why we need poetry.
- Dawn Lundy Martin, author of Good Stock Strange Blood
Danielle Vogel's newest collection creates a latticework for repair—the repairing of past trauma, the calling-into-presence of a dissociated self—but does so while keeping the material of this net of thinking in a fragmented, diaphanous state, glowing in the space between the poem and essay. Across three sections of "displacements," "miniatures," and "volume," Vogel initiates readers into the séance of the book; she asks the reader to hold vigil for the most crucial phase of its composition, which can only happen when the reader and she meet at the site of the page, within a "new, interrupted unity." In The Way a Line Hallucinates Its Own Linearity, accord--writing with, reading with--is always a verb, always kinetic, alchemical, and alive. "It only takes one letter on the page," Vogel writes, "and we are already inside one another's lungs." To consent to walk through these spaces is to give up that part of you that wishes to remain anonymous and un-entrained. You will be grateful that you did.
June 30, 2020
Red Hen Press
Because 'a body loosens itself across an alphabet,' because 'an absent word unsettl[es] the collarbone’s concavity,’ because ‘the vowels layering, breathe,’ Danielle Vogel’s ravishing and profound work resides in one as a thrilling visceral experience. Never has a reading encounter felt so fully embodied—the vibration and motions and shapes of language inside, transforming the day, long after the book is closed.
- Carole Maso, author of Ghost Dance
What is the relationship between book and body? This lovely text, both spare and voluminous, invokes an intimate register in which letters become liquid garments. Vogel adeptly "lets the ledge of a sentence wax." Her white space brims. Her parentheses cup breath to your ear. This book invites you to stand in an alphabetic current, abandon the distance between reader and text, pet words with your eye. Between Grammars transcribes lament for the limits of language and simultaneously conveys a hopefulness for poetry as an innately connective impulse.
March 1, 2015
Affirming the imagination's importance in effecting change, with marvelous invention this poets' glossary of terms responsive to the Anthropocene illuminates losses and violations, offers resources, inspires hope.
- Lynn Keller, author of Recomposing Ecopoetics
New vocabulary for a world on the brink
A monument to human responsiveness and invention, Counter-Desecration is a book of ecopoetics that compiles terms―borrowed, invented, recast―that help configure or elaborate human engagement with place. There are no analogous volumes in the field of ecocriticism and ecopoetics. The individual entries, each a sketch or a notion, through some ecopoetic lens―anti-colonialism, bioregionalism, ecological (im)balance, indigeneity, resource extraction, extinction, habitat loss, environmental justice, queerness, attentiveness, sustainability―focus and configure the emerging relations and effects of the Anthropocene. Each entry is a work of art concerned with contemporary poetics and environmental justice backed with sound observation and scholarship.
October 23, 2018
Wesleyan University Press
A book is where the far away meets the near at hand—the tea cooling on the table—the hard seat of the chair—the horn sounding outside the window…..
- Ann Hamilton, entry excerpted from The Book
From the editor —
What exactly is a book? In The Book, I have tried to define it with respect to its status as object, content, idea, and interface. By nature slippery, the book has taken numerous forms over time and been the subject of extensive experimentation by artists, filmmakers, tinkerers, and bookbinders.
In April, 2018, I began contacting writers, artists, and scholars I admired to ask them What is the/a book? You'll find their answers here in an attempt to draw attention to the many other formulations of what the book is and can be.
I and the book are in resonance, but more than that I am like an ember on which the book blows and also the ember that glows at the center of the book [...] I am a believer: in Danielle’s process, her thought, but also in language, in light. A believer that light is responsible for the writing of light and, therefore, also its transformation.
- J'Lyn Chapman, author of To Limn / Lying In
I begin writing with a simple, maybe impossible desire: I want to translate the logic of light as it moves. And not just visible light, but also the hidden light that occurs at the microscopic levels of our nervous systems. I want to flood grammar with light. To see what knowledge might be illumined within our alphabets, and also, to observe what resists light, what in me—what in us as human beings—is unable to be brought into sense through language, but remains an atmosphere at the edge of experience.
A collection of original essays written by contemporary poets about the innovative and unforgettable novels written by their predecessors.
A Forest on Many Stems: Essays on the Poet’s Novel provides a unique entrance to the rare prose of many remarkable modern and contemporary poets including Etel Adnan, Renee Gladman, Langston Hughes, Kevin Killian, Alice Notley, Fernando Pessoa, Rainer Maria Rilke, Leslie Scalapino, Jack Spicer, and Jean Toomer, whose approaches to the novel defy conventions of plot, character, setting, and action. Contributors Brian Blanchfield, Anne Boyer, John Keene, Mónica de la Torre, Cedar Sigo, and C. D. Wright bring a variety of insights, approaches, and writing styles to the subject with creative and often surprising results.
July 20, 2021