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April 2009
96 pages  

6 x 8 3/4
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Open Interval
Van Clief-Stefanon, Lyrae
Drawing upon intersections of astronomy and mathematics, history, literature, and lived experience, the poems in ]Open Interval[ locate the self in the interval between body and name.

Finalist, National Book Award

Read a press release about this book
Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon is assistant professor of English at Cornell University. She is the author of the poetry collection Black Swan, winner of the 2001 Cave Canem Poetry Prize, and coauthor, with Elizabeth Alexander, of the chapbook Poems in Conversation and a Conversation. Her poems have appeared in African American Review, Callaloo, Crab Orchard Review, Rattapallax, Shenandoah, and in several anthologies, including Bum Rush the Page and Role Call.
“What joy to enter the universe Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon wills into being. In ]Open Interval[ Jimi Hendrix, Robert Hass, Rilke, Bearden, John Goodricke, blues, desire, longing, supernovas, and more are all held together with lyrical daring and fierce imagination. Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon invents a new world to reveal to us the secret workings of the old.” —Cornelius Eady

“'Teach the sonnet's a cell'—says the speaker in one of Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon's compelling new poems, as she prepares to teach poetry to inmates at a New York State prison, 'now try to escape-'. This poet's astute and various formal choices perform exactly that work, containing the poem then constructing an opportunity for the splendidly intelligent maker of these artful forms to step into the light. ]Open Interval[ not only confirms the promise of Van Clief-Stefanon's first book but takes her work to startling new heights.”—Mark Doty

“Lyrae Van Clief-Stefanon asserts early in ]Open Interval[ that 'Poise begins here: / in cinders, in rhyme, in splintering beauty into this / and this—:' and the volume's inventive splintering becomes luminous exploration of the body—human and celestial. Part of its concern 'the crushing need / for form' in intricate re-navigations of the personal and historical, the mythic and scientific, the book's shape is finally more lyric constellation than traditional collection, the poems themselves variable stars, beautifully intense, pulsing.”—Claudia Emerson

“A lovely medition on the concept of distance . . . Van Clief-Stefanon’s work is colorful, sometimes playful, grounded in reality, yet other-wordly at the same time.”—BOMBlog

“At once luminous and fiercely heartrending.”—American Poet

“Exceptional . . . represents a quantum leap in imagination, as she has discovered that the more distance one attains from the hardened self, the clearer it becomes to the observer. Her attention has swung from the relaxed narrative line to formal perfection.”—Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

“Van Clief-Stefanon continues to draw from science, history, the Bible, and autobiography to make elliptical, lovely poems.”—West Branch

Complete Description Reviews
Pitt Poetry Series Table of Contents
Poetry Read a selection from this book

Drawing upon intersections of astronomy and mathematics, history, literature, and lived experience, the poems in Open Interval locate the self in the interval between body and name.


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