New poem featured at Nautilus — Cosmos

A new poem of mine, The Hunt for Dark Matter Minihalos, is up at Nautilus — Cosmos, along with a a selection of poems from my book, Dark Matter.

The Hunt for Dark Matter Minihalos

They say absence
makes the heart grow
as when downed red leaves show
a tree’s true size.
And when a cliff collapses,
its megatsunami can expand
across oceans, because the absence
of one thing can only be measured
by something else.

–>read the rest of the poem at Nautilus

front cover

September 2015 – Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books

buy link: Amazon

 

An earlier version of Dark Matter won the following prizes: 

2009 Ellen La Forge Poetry Prize (formerly the Grolier Prize) for poems: “Star explodes halfway across universe,” “Saturn’s moon may have hidden seas,” “Smallest black hole found,” “How to search for aliens,” “Mysterious white rock fingers on Mars,” and “Three galaxies and a comet.”

2009 semi-finalist in the Philip Levine Prize in Poetry.

2009 semi-finalist in the University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series, Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prizes.

2009 semi-finalist for the Sawtooth Poetry Prize, Ahsahta Press, Boise State University.

2010 semi-finalist for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award Competition.

 

 

Dark Matter poems featured at Nautilus — Cosmos

nautilus-cosmos-astro-pic

I’m very excited to present a selection of poems from my book, Dark Matter, at Nautilus, for their Cosmos issue, along with some brief commentary by yours truly.

Click through to Nautilus — Cosmos, and then scroll down to choose: The Stars Are a Comforting Constant.

Hat tips to Aldrich Press, 3 Quarks Daily, and the Ellen La Forge Memorial Prize in Poetry. A very special thanks to George Musser Jr. to reaching out to me, and Regan Penaluna for the finishing touches.

front cover

September 2015 – Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books

buy link: Amazon

 

An earlier version of Dark Matter won the following prizes: 

2009 Ellen La Forge Poetry Prize (formerly the Grolier Prize) for poems: “Star explodes halfway across universe,” “Saturn’s moon may have hidden seas,” “Smallest black hole found,” “How to search for aliens,” “Mysterious white rock fingers on Mars,” and “Three galaxies and a comet.”

2009 semi-finalist in the Philip Levine Prize in Poetry.

2009 semi-finalist in the University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series, Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prizes.

2009 semi-finalist for the Sawtooth Poetry Prize, Ahsahta Press, Boise State University.

2010 semi-finalist for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award Competition.

 

 

goodreads giveaway for Dark Matter! #poems

goodreads-logo

Love to read poetry but your budget is tight? I’m giving away two signed copies!

Click here to enter the goodreads giveaway for Dark Matter!

 

front cover

My full length collection of astronomy poems is now available! Many thanks to Karen at Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books!

buy link: Amazon

This particular collection was written over the past seven years. All the poems are based on images from the Astronomy Picture of the Day website: APOD.

I’m posting a previously unpublished poem from the collection. It’s not a supermoon eclipse, but it seemed appropriate, given last night’s astronomical party.

Blue moon eclipse 

This blue moon is pink
and strange—
like a pearl stuck in a grey
tideless ocean. She doesn’t move.
We’re wet and tired and we face
the sky like shells turned upside down.
The sand grits our teeth.

Or perhaps we’re in the mountains—
Rhône, France. Maybe the Rockies
where trees and stones hide almost all the view.
The vast night is portioned into tiny pieces:
here a bit of star, there a cloud.
The moon sails by
too fast—

This is what happens in the wild—
wolves let loose in the forest,
the pink blue moon, inciting confusion.
I ask why we are here
and you reply: because she is beautiful. 

This blue moon is not blue
at all.

When she fades (pearly craters
dimmed with sleep) we lie
on the ground like rocks turned over:
dark side up, hands threaded
with dream-dust.

 

Full Moon Silhouettes nominated for a Pushcart Prize!

Kelsay Books/Aldrich Press nominated my poem, Full Moon Silhouettes, for a Pushcart Prize! Thank you so much, Karen!

buy link: Amazon

front cover

 

This particular collection was written over the past seven years. All the poems are based on images from the Astronomy Picture of the Day website: APOD.

 

Dark Matter is available! #poems

buy link: Amazon

front cover

My full length collection of astronomy poems is now available! Many thanks to Karen at Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books!

buy link: Amazon

This particular collection was written over the past seven years. All the poems are based on images from the Astronomy Picture of the Day website: APOD.

I’m posting a previously unpublished poem from the collection. It’s not a supermoon eclipse, but it seemed appropriate, given last night’s astronomical party.

Blue moon eclipse 

This blue moon is pink
and strange—
like a pearl stuck in a grey
tideless ocean. She doesn’t move.
We’re wet and tired and we face
the sky like shells turned upside down.
The sand grits our teeth.

Or perhaps we’re in the mountains—
Rhône, France. Maybe the Rockies
where trees and stones hide almost all the view.
The vast night is portioned into tiny pieces:
here a bit of star, there a cloud.
The moon sails by
too fast—

This is what happens in the wild—
wolves let loose in the forest,
the pink blue moon, inciting confusion.
I ask why we are here
and you reply: because she is beautiful. 

This blue moon is not blue
at all.

When she fades (pearly craters
dimmed with sleep) we lie
on the ground like rocks turned over:
dark side up, hands threaded
with dream-dust.

 

Dark Matter cover reveal! #poems

front cover

My full length collection of astronomy poems is coming autumn 2015 from Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books!

 

This particular collection was written over the past seven years. All the poems are based on images from the Astronomy Picture of the Day website: APOD.

 

An earlier version of Dark Matter won the following prizes: 

2009 Ellen La Forge Poetry Prize (formerly the Grolier Prize) for poems: “Star explodes halfway across universe,” “Saturn’s moon may have hidden seas,” “Smallest black hole found,” “How to search for aliens,” “Mysterious white rock fingers on Mars,” and “Three galaxies and a comet.”

2009 semi-finalist in the Philip Levine Prize in Poetry.

2009 semi-finalist in the University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series, Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prizes.

2009 semi-finalist for the Sawtooth Poetry Prize, Ahsahta Press, Boise State University.

2010 semi-finalist for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award Competition.

 

Reviews:

These beautifully meditative poems explore while fusing the worlds of astronomy and of human relationships. In Chrissie’s deft hands, each world seems both to explain and deepen the mystery of the other, leaving the reader with a vivid sense of the grandeur of each. In these poems, black holes, nebulae, stellar winds and the march of constellations somehow feel like the natural partners of parenting and relationship difficulties, of the joys and upheavals of daily human life. In clear, confident language, the poems condense into wise emotional insights that make this collection as much a map for modern living as they make it an astronomy lesson of astonishing breadth and variety. Bravo!

~Nic Sebastian, author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark and Like A Web, both published under the poetry nanopress model with partner editors. She is co-founder and curator of The Poetry Storehouse.

****

The perspective of Christine Klocek-Lim’s Dark Matter is that of a star-gazer on Earth, a parent with a rich inner life, looking up, “where nothing important / happens quickly.” These poems reveal a rare intimacy with the sky, an affinity for the stuff of space, planets, stars, even chaos and collapse. Each lyric is as much a love song to oblivion as it is a portrait of life now. “We dream / and drive and delay talking / about love as though tragedy / is manageable: / the tidy moons of our psyche / orbiting.” Through these stark and bravely bright poems, one feels the gravity of Earth at odds with something else, something inside us or among. By probing the metaphors of unfathomable space and time, Klocek-Lim pushes against that more familiar tug—until life on the ground feels changed.

~Billy Merrell, author of Talking in the Dark.

****

Christine Klocek-Lim’s stunning Dark Matter reminds that poetry is an agent of transcendence and percipience. She casts her clear-eyed gaze and wonderment skyward and returns to us earthy, elegiac and astonishing poems of luminous lyricism. The dazzling and accomplished poems in Dark Matter honor how “Our ancestors/
were always trying to make sense/
of the unseen” and celebrate how “Sometimes we still collide/ with each other, staring heavenward/ until the stars blind us.” You’ll return to these poems again and again and each time you’ll emerge newly awed.

~Patty Paine author of Grief & Other Animals, and editor of diode.

 

Excerpt:

Despina, moon of Neptune

She said she’d rather sing alone
than perform for some random guy,
but then Voyager 2 flew by,
eyes trained on her curved form
like a desperate man (the kind
whose lady walked away forever).
He just didn’t know when to look aside.
She said she tried to hide, quiet her light
against her father’s blue sky, but the lens
found her four times. She gave up
silence for fame, gave up space
and time, until the sun finally fell
down across the steely horizon.
Her father Neptune didn’t seem to care
and that was what hurt her most.
The galaxy beyond everything she knew
was so much less infinite than she’d hoped.
The camera took what he wanted
and left. Despina endured the scrutiny
of a thousand careless eyes—

In the end, she would only wear white,
the color of purity, and not even the dark
could get her to sing anymore.

-first appeared in WMNR’s The Night Café, October 2014

 

Violent collision of stellar winds detected

You talk through the chronic sadness
of late Sunday, ignoring the sunlight
that slants over the new daffodils.
Tomorrow you will be gone to work
and I will be cleaning, both of us indifferent
to the violent collision of stellar winds
they say is happening right now,
the glow brighter than four million suns
together. Strange how invisible accidents
affect things: as we speak, the static
conversation of the big bang murmurs
in the background, though we can’t
hear it. And tonight, we’ll look up
to stars that are no longer there.
Twenty-one years ago we held
hands at twilight and spoke
of trivialities, keeping our voices
hushed in the darkness.
Now the conversation fades,
but the energy from Eta Carinae
is still apparent in the way our shoulders
touch, not precisely kissing, but colliding
nonetheless.

-first published in Astropoetica, Vol. 9.2, Summer 2011

 

Supernova remnant Cassiopeia A

One night the angels came
for her, rustling their wings
in the starlight. She was sleeping.
They grasped her arms and ankles,
lifting her away as though
she weighed nothing at all.
The next morning her feet ached
and her daughter gave her comfort.
That night again they took her,
carrying her past the atmosphere.
She told them she wanted to see
Cassiopeia and they brought
her to the mountains of creation,
dipping her hands and toes in the dust.
She woke dreaming of beauty
but could not walk. Her shoulders
ached and for the first time
she feared. Again in the darkness
the angels found her, hiding
in the bathroom, holding her arms
around her heart. They sang
and she fell asleep. This time
she remembered nothing but
could not smile. In the morning
she found feathers in the bed.
When night came she lay awake
in the dark, pinching her skin,
imagining grief as they gathered
around her. She did not speak
as they pulled her close, pressing
their fingers against her eyes,
brushing their lips to her hair.
She wept and did not look back.
The angels laughed, pretending
happiness, but she felt how they
trembled, holding her too tightly
for hours. That morning she discarded
fear to explain love to her daughter
but by nightfall she knew the angels
had gone and she braided her hair
with sorrow. And when she died
she dreamed of angels crying
in the explosion, scattering
their light in the infinite dark.

-first published in Diode v3n2

 

The great rift on Saturn’s moon Tethys

Every rock looks the same. A bit gray,
some cracks and craters. Pick it up
and your hand goes stiff with dust
as though everything is disintegrating.
Tethys is dying as we speak, shedding ash
into space, the long rift of the Ithaca Chasma
watching from the pocked surface. Yesterday
I refused to dream because too many years
had passed since my grandmother walked
into the darkest valley. I could not recall her face.
Space is like that. You think the rocks will last
forever, but really, all the stars and moons are broken.
Are breaking. At birth, the crust of Tethys cooled
and the landscape seized up and wrenched apart.
Or maybe bombardment formed Odysseus,
the crater in Tethys’ Great Basin, and the rift.
We’ll never know. She died and the vast black
of space fell down. Ten years later and I’m still
contemplating sorrow, fingering rocks I’ve gathered
and kept like tombstones, like the dust that rings Saturn.
I’m hoping for a halo like that, some sign of light.
I’m hoping that someday at journey’s end I’ll come home
and find the valley of the dead waiting in the backyard,
filled with dust and bits of ancient, cherished stars.

-first published in Lucid Rhythms, Issue 2, 2009

#Reviews for Dark Matter #comingsoon #excerpts #poems

Orion

forthcoming autumn 2015 – Aldrich Press/Kelsay Books

 

From the author:

This particular collection was written over the past seven years. All the poems are based on images from the Astronomy Picture of the Day website: APOD.

 

An earlier version of Dark Matter won the following prizes: 

2009 Ellen La Forge Poetry Prize (formerly the Grolier Prize) for poems: “Star explodes halfway across universe,” “Saturn’s moon may have hidden seas,” “Smallest black hole found,” “How to search for aliens,” “Mysterious white rock fingers on Mars,” and “Three galaxies and a comet.”

2009 semi-finalist in the Philip Levine Prize in Poetry.

2009 semi-finalist in the University of Wisconsin Press Poetry Series, Brittingham and Pollak Poetry Prizes.

2009 semi-finalist for the Sawtooth Poetry Prize, Ahsahta Press, Boise State University.

2010 semi-finalist for the Crab Orchard Series in Poetry First Book Award Competition.

 

Reviews:

These beautifully meditative poems explore while fusing the worlds of astronomy and of human relationships. In Chrissie’s deft hands, each world seems both to explain and deepen the mystery of the other, leaving the reader with a vivid sense of the grandeur of each. In these poems, black holes, nebulae, stellar winds and the march of constellations somehow feel like the natural partners of parenting and relationship difficulties, of the joys and upheavals of daily human life. In clear, confident language, the poems condense into wise emotional insights that make this collection as much a map for modern living as they make it an astronomy lesson of astonishing breadth and variety. Bravo!

~Nic Sebastian, author of Forever Will End On Thursday and Dark and Like A Web, both published under the poetry nanopress model with partner editors. She is co-founder and curator of The Poetry Storehouse.

****

The perspective of Christine Klocek-Lim’s Dark Matter is that of a star-gazer on Earth, a parent with a rich inner life, looking up, “where nothing important / happens quickly.” These poems reveal a rare intimacy with the sky, an affinity for the stuff of space, planets, stars, even chaos and collapse. Each lyric is as much a love song to oblivion as it is a portrait of life now. “We dream / and drive and delay talking / about love as though tragedy / is manageable: / the tidy moons of our psyche / orbiting.” Through these stark and bravely bright poems, one feels the gravity of Earth at odds with something else, something inside us or among. By probing the metaphors of unfathomable space and time, Klocek-Lim pushes against that more familiar tug—until life on the ground feels changed.

~Billy Merrell, author of Talking in the Dark.

****

Christine Klocek-Lim’s stunning Dark Matter reminds that poetry is an agent of transcendence and percipience. She casts her clear-eyed gaze and wonderment skyward and returns to us earthy, elegiac and astonishing poems of luminous lyricism. The dazzling and accomplished poems in Dark Matter honor how “Our ancestors/
were always trying to make sense/
of the unseen” and celebrate how “Sometimes we still collide/ with each other, staring heavenward/ until the stars blind us.” You’ll return to these poems again and again and each time you’ll emerge newly awed.

~Patty Paine author of Grief & Other Animals, and editor of diode.

 

Excerpt:

Despina, moon of Neptune

She said she’d rather sing alone
than perform for some random guy,
but then Voyager 2 flew by,
eyes trained on her curved form
like a desperate man (the kind
whose lady walked away forever).
He just didn’t know when to look aside.
She said she tried to hide, quiet her light
against her father’s blue sky, but the lens
found her four times. She gave up
silence for fame, gave up space
and time, until the sun finally fell
down across the steely horizon.
Her father Neptune didn’t seem to care
and that was what hurt her most.
The galaxy beyond everything she knew
was so much less infinite than she’d hoped.
The camera took what he wanted
and left. Despina endured the scrutiny
of a thousand careless eyes—

In the end, she would only wear white,
the color of purity, and not even the dark
could get her to sing anymore.

-first appeared in WMNR’s The Night Café, October 2014

 

Violent collision of stellar winds detected

You talk through the chronic sadness
of late Sunday, ignoring the sunlight
that slants over the new daffodils.
Tomorrow you will be gone to work
and I will be cleaning, both of us indifferent
to the violent collision of stellar winds
they say is happening right now,
the glow brighter than four million suns
together. Strange how invisible accidents
affect things: as we speak, the static
conversation of the big bang murmurs
in the background, though we can’t
hear it. And tonight, we’ll look up
to stars that are no longer there.
Twenty-one years ago we held
hands at twilight and spoke
of trivialities, keeping our voices
hushed in the darkness.
Now the conversation fades,
but the energy from Eta Carinae
is still apparent in the way our shoulders
touch, not precisely kissing, but colliding
nonetheless.

-first published in Astropoetica, Vol. 9.2, Summer 2011

 

Supernova remnant Cassiopeia A

One night the angels came
for her, rustling their wings
in the starlight. She was sleeping.
They grasped her arms and ankles,
lifting her away as though
she weighed nothing at all.
The next morning her feet ached
and her daughter gave her comfort.
That night again they took her,
carrying her past the atmosphere.
She told them she wanted to see
Cassiopeia and they brought
her to the mountains of creation,
dipping her hands and toes in the dust.
She woke dreaming of beauty
but could not walk. Her shoulders
ached and for the first time
she feared. Again in the darkness
the angels found her, hiding
in the bathroom, holding her arms
around her heart. They sang
and she fell asleep. This time
she remembered nothing but
could not smile. In the morning
she found feathers in the bed.
When night came she lay awake
in the dark, pinching her skin,
imagining grief as they gathered
around her. She did not speak
as they pulled her close, pressing
their fingers against her eyes,
brushing their lips to her hair.
She wept and did not look back.
The angels laughed, pretending
happiness, but she felt how they
trembled, holding her too tightly
for hours. That morning she discarded
fear to explain love to her daughter
but by nightfall she knew the angels
had gone and she braided her hair
with sorrow. And when she died
she dreamed of angels crying
in the explosion, scattering
their light in the infinite dark.

-first published in Diode v3n2

 

The great rift on Saturn’s moon Tethys

Every rock looks the same. A bit gray,
some cracks and craters. Pick it up
and your hand goes stiff with dust
as though everything is disintegrating.
Tethys is dying as we speak, shedding ash
into space, the long rift of the Ithaca Chasma
watching from the pocked surface. Yesterday
I refused to dream because too many years
had passed since my grandmother walked
into the darkest valley. I could not recall her face.
Space is like that. You think the rocks will last
forever, but really, all the stars and moons are broken.
Are breaking. At birth, the crust of Tethys cooled
and the landscape seized up and wrenched apart.
Or maybe bombardment formed Odysseus,
the crater in Tethys’ Great Basin, and the rift.
We’ll never know. She died and the vast black
of space fell down. Ten years later and I’m still
contemplating sorrow, fingering rocks I’ve gathered
and kept like tombstones, like the dust that rings Saturn.
I’m hoping for a halo like that, some sign of light.
I’m hoping that someday at journey’s end I’ll come home
and find the valley of the dead waiting in the backyard,
filled with dust and bits of ancient, cherished stars.

-first published in Lucid Rhythms, Issue 2, 2009