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On the Other Side, Blue
Collier Nogues

Stahlecker Selections

Four Way
2011 • 80 pp. 6 x 9"

$15.95 Paperback, 978-1-935536-07-9

“Nogues's debut quietly but squarely takes on death, family, place, landscape, history, love, marriage, though grief ties them all together, providing not only identity but... [continued in Reviews below]”—Publishers Weekly

A brave and beautiful work that navigates the complex emotional landscape of grief

Collier Nogues’ lyrical debut collection, On the Other Side, Blue, shows us a world steeped in loss and rich with the love that survives it. “If you think you’ll cry, love, let’s not both of us, not here,” Nogues writes as she explores how to endure grief—a grief that nestles into the hearts of these poems and refuses to leave. Everything in this collection exists in terms of its relationship to the deceased: “No one loves me like your mother, now that my mother’s gone.” The speaker, too, struggles with her identity in the wake of such grief: “Widow— //echo—//there is no proper name / for the daughter left without a mother.”

Click here for TABLE OF CONTENTS

Reviews / Endorsements

“Nogues's debut quietly but squarely takes on death, family, place, landscape, history, love, marriage, though grief ties them all together, providing not only identity but also genealogy and community throughout the book. Although Nogues begins with her own bereavement following her mother's death, she is as much an observer of mourning as a participant in it, charting the similarities and variations of grief's progression in a lover, family members, strangers, neighbors. The book then moves from death to a sort of rebirth, ending with a warily hopeful epithalamion in which "[t]he promise absents a fear/ which had been helpful/ in its way but can now be discarded." Finally Nogues's observation of loss gives way to connection with landscape and the natural world; in her best moments, Nogues counterbalances elegy with trust in plainspoken description, yielding nothing short of wisdom: ‘[i]t's not true/ to say there's light behind those trees. Those trees/ are all there is.’ In careful lines and with a particular, wry Western twang, Nogues works her way out of mourning and back into a world of living things.”—Publishers Weekly

“The interior intensity of Collier Nogues’ book comes not from the personal grief and loss that occasion it, but from the artistry through which the grief and loss are rendered and therefore honored.”—Michael Ryan

“Calling up what mortality underscores as irreplaceable, Nogues’ lines are models of intelligence, clarity and grace.”—James McMichael

From the Book:

How I Take Care of Her Now

She knocks on my classroom door, interrupting.
She’s slimmer, and healthy, but her

skirt is falling down
so I help her pin it. The feeling is

one I’ve grown used to,
of stepping in to help with what

her hands won’t do. But I understand
mine isn’t the real dream—I’m in

her dream, and in it her skirt isn’t on, it’s
that kind of dream,

and fixing her dream is how I am helping.

COLLIER NOGUES hails from Austin. Her fellowships include residencies from MacDowell Colony and Ucross. She lives in Long Beach, CA.

Sat, 2 Dec 2017 12:00:04 -0500