Incantation and elegy shine through one another in this extraordinary poetic memoir
When poet Danielle Vogel began writing meditations on the syntax of earthen and astral light, she had no idea that her mother's tragic death would eclipse the writing of that book, turning her attention to grief's syntax and quiet fields of cellular light in the form of memory. Written in elegant, crystalline prose poems, A Library of Light is a memoir that begins and ends in an incantatory space, one in which light speaks. At the book's center glows a more localized light: the voice of the poet as she reflects, with ceremonial patience, on the bioluminescence of the human body, language's relationship to lineage, her mother's journals written during years of estrangement from her daughter, and the healing potential of poetry. A mesmerizing elegy infused with studies of epigenetic theory and biophotonics, A Library of Light shows that to language is to take part in transmission, transmutation of energy, and sonic (re)patterning of biological light.
When we are. When we are there, we lay together
and cover ourselves with our voices. When we are
ten, we are also twenty-one. We speak of breathing,
but this is a thing we cannot do. When we are
seven, we are also eighteen. When we are eighteen,
we begin our bodies. But we are unmappable,
unhinged. A resynchronization of codes, the
crystalline frequencies of stars, seeds, vowels, lying
dormant within you. We are the oldest dialect. A
sound the voice cannot make but makes.
Light • of Light • Light • Author's Note — Syntax: a bioluminescence
"Danielle Vogel is an alchemist of language, time, and the body. Reading A Library of Light, I almost expected my thoughts to materialize in front of me. What a strange, intense pleasure it is to feel the categories dissolving, to be allowed to accompany Vogel in her journey 'through the door of [her] mother's body' and into all the light she both finds and makes beyond."~Heather Christle, author of The Crying Book
"This gorgeous elegy and meditation on light moves into hidden interiors and considers essential questions of love, loss, and self as frequency or vibration. Vogel consults the library of light, revisiting a psychic silence, a death, shards of memory and intergenerational trauma through a vantage of multi-dimensional being."~Laynie Brown, author of The Poet's Novel
"A Library of Light is a fascinating book in which language comes out of both 'light' and 'wreckage.' It is also a compassionate reflection on self-integration, architecture, sight, vision, and illumination, built from the affordances of language."~Prageeta Sharma, author of Grief Sequence