Species, Families + Faultlines – a review of Marie Tozier’s new poetry collection for Terrain.org

Marie Tozier’s new poetry collection Open the Dark (Boreal Books/Red Hen Press 2020) gave me an occasion to think and write about North American history, how time moves/freezes via language, aesthetics of resistance, and acts of generosity. My review essay is live at Terrain.org. Full text here.


Alaskan Inupiaq poet Marie Tozier’s new collection Open the Dark challenges—but also aligns with—western notions of linear time. Early on, the collection announces a cyclic, wheeling view of time as it unfolds in successive waves across the land. In one poem “An abandoned snowmachine / Sunk last spring, sits exposed near the far shore,” while another asks, “What’s inside / The space / Between laughter / And the memory / Of those you laughed with?”

Returns like these complicate the idea that continuity denotes simple abundance, suggesting instead that a sense of loss can persist even within a larger understanding of repetitions and returns. Indeed, the collection is full of the rhythms of seasons and family and ancient narratives, but it is also about the open wound of residential school history.

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