The advanced sales period for Neruda Nights is now open. If you're going
to buy the book anyway, any purchase of Neruda Nights prior to September
15th will be especially appreciated. The book ships by November 10th, in
time for the holidays. THANK YOU. See the attached purchase form, for your
Reviews are welcome.
These richly candid poems are occasioned by the night and its solitudes.
Their subjects emerge, like night-blooming plants, from Neruda, seen here as
a growth medium, a loose, fertile soil, not so much, then, from specific
texts as from his nurturing freedoms. Memory, desire, regret, words on the
page all have physical presences—sound, touch, taste—in this very personal,
angular, delightfully strange, but wholly accessible night music.
What Sir Isaac Newton's alchemy only sought, Helen Degen Cohen's poetry
achieves--the transposition of one core element into another. With Neruda
Nights, Cohen transforms elegy into ode, the ache of loss into the joy of
gain. The poet confesses, "I gave myself to what I lost." But she has journeyed
from there "for words that touch skin," for the "opening within." And
farther still. Nights is filled with movement and color and scent and
delight--from "the way flowers grow out of Neruda," to "a perfect mango," and the
"reasons for my gratitude." For both poet and reader, the bliss of "Neruda
Nights" "makes you dream all over again."
-- Ralph Hamilton
Be prepared to become an eavesdropper—a voyeur of a kind—when you enter
Helen Degen Cohen’s Neruda Nights. You will stand just outside the narrator’
s window looking in, but the narrator will always be looking past you—or
through you—as you stand privy to her quietest hours of dark, of memory, of
light. You will overhear her speaking to an ever-shifting, invisible “you
”—the night, Neruda, love, and, at the heart of this collection, a man who
has awakened the persona’s senses—or who perhaps has moved into a sensual
space already created by Neruda himself. John Stuart Mill may have
believed “eloquence is heard, poetry is overheard,” but these poems seem to defy
that—becoming more eloquent because of their private nature paired with
the constant presence of one or more unseen auditors. The reader may very
well ask at the end of these poems: “Who am I, now that / you’re part of my
life?” The answer may very well surprise you. And it will certainly make
you want to reread the collection over and over again.
Andrea Witzke Slot
Every journey begins, laozi wisely wrote, when you put your foot down.
Helen Degen Cohen puts her foot down in Neruda Nights with "The catness of
your everywhere..." Yes. Both the everywhere and the catness of it prepare us
for the way these poems move, the way they touch -- the way a cat follows
a wall, exposing borders that are anything but reasonable right on the edge
of invisibility. The poet is "homeless / almost by nature," at home in the
wandering. As in Neruda, the personal is so profoundly intense that it is
political: "Rain is again a wonder, / as are my wet /socks." What is
remarkable about these poems is the desire permeating the most ordinary things --
"we were m's the s's could crawl into," a girl recalls, and, earlier, "We
got there in a state / of awe / without knowing it, without / having
traveled." Without knowing it, possibility everywhere, crawl into these poems.
Beginning after beginning, they cross borders. This poet lets you use her
rain, and it is a wonder.
– Steven Schroeder