80 pages, 6 x 9
In the study of sound waves and optics, the term transmission loss refers to how a signal grows weaker as it travels across distance and between objects. In this book, Chelsea Jennings reimagines the term in poems that register attenuated signals, mark presence and loss, and treat the body as an instrument sensitive to the weather of immediate experience. Threading together landscapes, abstract paintings, family heirlooms, maps, manuscripts, and photographs, these poems follow the seasons and traverse the spectrum of visible light. Vivid and precise, Transmission Loss brings us to the boundary between inside and outside, "As if what the hand knows / could be held in the hand."
Being near parallel worlds of myth, romance, and fairy tale results in something waking up in our brains, something spooky and clearly near the essence of how we survive. Everything, good and not so good, is illuminated from within, everything is as significant as everything ought to be. The same thing happens to words in poems when the poems are as beautifully made as the poems in Transmission Loss are made by Chelsea Jennings. This is a first book introducing a brilliant poet with something to say, and everything about it treats existence with the awe it deserves.'—Dara Wier, Juniper Prize for Poetry judge and author of You Good Thing
'This bold first book takes on fundamentals of art and life: light, color, perspective, identity, and loss. The craft behind Chelsea Jennings' quintessentially lyric poems is so exquisite it seems to slow time the way a great painting might—you want to savor each phrase and line. Insightful, meticulous, and moving, Transmission Loss grows deeper with every reading.'—Don Bogen, author of An Algebra
'The poems of Transmission Loss pulse between the world as it appears (in paintings, in photographs), and the world we inhabit. Heaven is there / in the measure of his hands, / opening and shutting like a bird. Each poem in this startling first collection becomes its own contained painting, and when we look up from the page it's as if the world itself has poured in. Seldom have I encountered a poetry that captures the strange truth that merely being awake to the world and what it offers can be so calming, so essential, so eerie.'—Nick Flynn, author of My Feelings
'Each poem in this collection possesses an immediacy and vividness in its plain language, making them imminently accessible without losing any of their existential weight. These lyrics are short but resonant, with lines that are deft and secure in their intent and direction, which grants readers ease of understanding and a deep pleasure.'—Seattle Book Review
Chelsea Jennings is a Seattle-based writer and educator. She has been the recipient of a number of awards, among them a Discovery/Boston Review prize. Her poems have appeared in Cincinnati Review, Black Warrior Review, december, Sugar House Review, Madison Review, Mississippi Review, Sycamore Review, Poet Lore, and Best New Poets.
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