To Light Out
To Light Out

Karen Weiser

Poetry | $15 $13
Out of Print
"Karen Weiser writes for the courage of every breathing thing" — CAConradFinalist for the Norma Farber First Book Award from the Poetry Society of America

About the Author

Karen Weiser

Karen Weiser is a mother, poet and doctoral candidate at the CUNY Graduate Center, studying early American literature. She has published the following chapbooks: Pitching Woo (Cy Press, Fall 2006); Heads Up Fever Pile (Belladonna, 2005); Placefullness (Ugly Duckling Presse, 2004); Eight Positive Trees (Pressed Wafer, 2002); and co-authored (with Nadine Maestas) Beneath The Bright Discus (Potes and Poets Press, 2000). Her first full-length collection, To Light Out, came out with Ugly Duckling Presse in 2010. Her poems have appeared in The Poetry Project Newsletter, The Chicago Review, The Brooklyn Rail, The Canary, The Germ and The Hat (as well as other publications not beginning with “The”) and several anthologies including Isn’t It Romantic: 100 Love Poems by Younger American Poets (Verse Press, 2004). Her correspondence with Anne Waldman is part of a book entitled Letters To Poets: Conversations about Poetics, Politics and Community (Saturnalia, 2008). She is also the recipient of a Fund for Poetry award and the Mellon Fellowship through the Center for the Humanities. She lives in New York City and has taught literature at St. John’s University and Barnard College. To Light Out is her first full-length collection.

Advance Praise

The poems in To Light Out enact a kind of mystical belief—call it a faith—that language is the means by which we conjure the self and its relationship with others. In Weiser's hands, poems are language illuminated by grace, and the world, in light of such sudden sight, becomes 'The distance into versions of itself / whose miles begin to resemble pale maps / old photographs with studied shadow / inside each female self / composed like a nineteenth century diorama / all heft and movement of hands.' The meditative variation at play in this ambitious collection shines forth brilliantly, at any hour of the day or night.—Susan Howe
Karen Weiser's To Light Out more than lives up to the motto: 'monstrous in largesse.' 'Leaf[ing] through the puns of our shared musical scope,' she is 'a trader in cryptic intelligences' who recognizes that 'each word is a room built around us.' Wandering inside these vast miniscule palaces, she listens closely, traveling 'as far as you can hear,' toward 'originary moments' – the Big Bang whose sounds are still expanding through time and space, and 'when you yourself are the egg-cup.' To read and thus hear Weiser 'light out' is to be entranced by the 'continual discovery' suffusing these vatic poems 'risen from bodily thought.'—John Yau
Weiser's figures of speech are gloriously two-headed and unpredictable... [her] best poems make stellar examples for T.S. Eliot's famous claim that true poems can communicate before they are understood.—Stephen Burt in The Believer
Reader, 'your ear's memory palace' reminds us often while reading these exquisite poems of the wild soul beneath the din of our metallic world. Karen Weiser writes for the courage of every breathing thing, a static of cells driven not from the compulsion to form, but from the eagerness to be, stuttering forth to light out. Here, and wherever we take ourselves after reading these poems, they remain as cells themselves: a live thing we will call with our own names. In my quest for poetry of use, Karen Weiser has shown me how fitting myself into 'the chapel of a bird's body / is any body / breathing with ink.'—CAConrad
[E]very word in To Light Out is an act of cosmological correspondence through which the poet/antenna receives amorphous external signals, which she shapes into language.