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This piece is about 6 printed pages long. It is copyright © Maxine Chernoff and Jacket magazine 2008.
These poems will appear in Maxine Chernoff’s new book The Turning, which will appear from Apogee Press in late August 2008.See our [»»] Copyright notice. The Internet address of this page is

Maxine Chernoff

Three poems

And words for
What it contains


“It is all a Tree.”–Thomas Carlyle

By making things rare, we create an elite:
in the Sudan, how a chicken
is poisoned for divination.

Jung’s dream of the wings of a house —
I misread as a house with wings —
“the distorted notions of invisible things.”

Let us speak of what we haven’t seen,
the light that fills the room or
page on which words float like clouds.

How conscience gets extinguished
with threadbare slogans.
Let us now praise embryonic growth,

One thousand poems about the same cathedral,
fixations and ruses, earth-worn objects
and those who love them.

And Words For

“Our human logic and our language do not in any way correspond to time.” — Aleksandr Vvedensky

The moment after the flashlight

The time we were not sorry

The woman who knew too little

Her assault upon community

The darkness of the hour

The black he never wore

Crime’s passion and passion’s crime

The quiet irony of place

His death in ‘74

Antecedent of the war’s eye-view

My failure to succumb

Candor of former confessions

Harbor beyond the harbor

The crowded field of action

Comedic lines replacing
lost histories of space

Affinity for landing
in sorrow’s heavy gift

The Stradavarian grace
of longitudinal signs

Until the celebration
replaces patient thought

When everything is art
and life may prove you wrong

What it Contains

Thomas contends that the novel contains scenes of violence and the detailed description of a sexual assault on a young boy.

Indeed, the novel contains one of the earliest discussions of how the conditions of slave life might be ameliorated.

In addition, the novel contains the revelations of a few hitherto well-guarded secrets.

Although the novel contains adult language and situations, it will appeal to all audiences.

The novel contains many scenes of characters being compelled to write “the truth.”

The novel contains many descriptions of mouth-watering food that at the same time can be seen as homely and erotic.

In support of the pessimistic perspective, the novel contains many truly dark moments to offset the colorful ones.

As usual with Irving, the novel contains some brilliant moments of cultural observations.

But the novel contains the parallel and contrasting love of Konstantin Levin.

The novel contains a great deal of religious imagery.

The novel contains several bullfighting references, especially in the name of Tess’ boat Quernica (the spot in the ring where the bull feels protected).

The novel contains a large amount of ethnographic material to make it seem “authentic,” and there is more than a whiff of authorial exploitation here.

The novel contains a complementary story: the relationship of Glen and Miriam, who are attracted to each other but always tend to resist each other.

Those who know a bit about Church history and Scripture recognize that the novel contains much error and unsubstantiated theorizing.

An interesting feature from the linguistic perspective is that the novel contains a number of ‘Newspeak’ words (such as Miniluv, doublethink, plusgood, etc.).

The novel contains a large of minor players: neighbors, coworkers, friends, relatives and other incidental participants.

The novel contains a wealth of ideas and scientific information that could spawn research that will lead to actual inter-species communication.

The novel contains many powerful vignettes, including two memorable and controversial sex scenes–a touching one between Janet and a teenage earth female.

All copies were confiscated because the novel contains descriptions of Mao Zedong’s portrait being defaced.

The novel contains many different kinds of love: intellectual, spiritual, sexual, maternal. Which moves you most and why?

As the novel contains a double focus on morality and fantasy, it is also discussed as a dystopia, which is closely related to both satire and science.

It is also true that the main thread of the novel contains the love story of Chin Pao-yu and Lin Tai-yu.

Banned in Rochester, Michigan, the novel contains and makes reference to religious matters.

The second paragraph of the novel contains the same paragraph from a first-grade primer.

The novel contains several non-beautiful, even grotesque characters such as Bessie, Whitey, the pierced waitress, Judge, and Miss Ella.

Published in 1894, the novel contains brutally realistic depictions of war.

The novel contains excellent scientific details about the Everglades and their ecological diversity.

The novel contains twenty-five episodes, many of which have ludic titles.

The novel contains many descriptions of people looking at each other with anger, supplication, pity, and understanding.

The novel contains profanity and racial slurs.

The novel contains some clichés about manhood (the “real man” and his “inner red dog,” for example).

What Bakhtin’s concept of dialogism suggests is that we also need a book showing that every theory of the novel contains the Quixote within it.

The novel contains the first published reference to what would become The Dark Towers mythos, as King’s uber-villain Randall Flagg is introduced.

Maxine Chernoff

Maxine Chernoff

Maxine Chernoff is the author of six fiction collections and ten poetry books, including World and Evolution of the Bridge, both from Salt, and Among the Names and The Turning, both from Apogee. Chair of Creative Writing at San Francisco State University, she co-edits New American Writing. With Paul Hoover, she has translated The Selected Poems of Friedrich Hölderlin, to be published by Omnidawn.

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