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Blue in Green

Poems that address interpersonal connections while navigating life and care amid disease and disaster.
Collaboration runs through the heart of this collection. Human relationships—particularly in families—shape the poems in Blue in Green, as they consider how the question of what we expect from one another evolves into a question of what we owe. When cancer overshadows the ordinary—engrossing the labor of love, work, and friendship—disease becomes a collaborator and proposes new rules of exchange. 
The forms of Elliott’s works highlight reciprocity. Here you’ll find ekphrastic poems that describe modern jazz songs, letters and letter fragments, and free verse poems in wildly variable line lengths. “When I was a wave,” the speaker repeats, each time telling a different story about intimacy and risk. Blue in Green moves through the struggle of processing the damaging interpersonal reverberations of racism, sexism, and environmental damage, while navigating intertwined personal and political incarnations of care. While a slow-growing disease burns its way through the speaker’s body, these poems reveal the feeling of perpetually existing in the shadow of catastrophe and document the slow and strange process of coming to terms with that way of living.

80 pages | 5 1/2 x 8 1/2 | © 2021

Phoenix Poets



“Elliott gorgeously personifies nature and everyday things in her atmospheric latest. . . . Elliott offers beauty and surprise at every turn.”

Publishers Weekly

"The enduring impact of Elliott's precision with language is one of enchantment and intimacy. Her speakers whisper runes, puzzle-like secrets that strike readers on a primal level before rising to cerebral comprehension."

Booklist (starred review)

"It’s because she’s so artfully surprising that Elliott manages to do something very difficult here: she convincingly and movingly speaks in the first-person plural about urgent subjects, and yet she never sounds the least bit rhetorical. In the work of a poet as a good as Elliott, imagination and subjects aren’t opposed: they vitalize one another."

Public Books

“Elliott’s quite amazing Blue in Green is an intricate series of forays and restatements, an ongoing investigation of the language of the world and a search less for ‘meaning’ than among versions of possibility, a search not unlike the sketches in the song that lends its title to the book, the song that takes the good listener beyond the song itself. And here, the good reader’s escorted past and beneath the terms of common capture and into reference as points of ecstatic departure, as openings. There’s startling power in Blue in Green, there’s news here that stays news.”

C .S. Giscombe, author of Ohio Railroads

“The material of Elliott’s Blue in Green— time, music, pleasure, dream, water, memory—all share one commonality: the reverberation of the past tense, which ebbs and flows like a wave into a perpetual present. This bleeding into serves as a language-game not unlike Wittgenstein’s theory of colour concepts. Each poem establishes a visual and sonic logic through linguistic image, a depiction of the way the past becomes a composite that is understood only as it transforms, like Elliott explains, 'As glitter is to lake,/ Like sunlight is to ache, like ache is to mountains.' Elliott’s work is polyphonic; the past and present each have their own voice, an eventual harmony, like the sky falling into grass, like two seas mixing. The poems of Blue in Green are exquisite collages of time stopped and continuing.”

Kimberly Grey, author of Systems for the Future of Feeling

Blue in Green is full of strange truths and a weaved, wonderful singing. Elliott’s poems perch and pry at the radiant seams of reality, her voice igniting the numinous verves between imagination and understanding.”

Geffrey Davis, author of Night Angler

“Elliott’s latest collection is a continuous love letter to all that we’ve lost. Yet instead of wailing or teeth-gnashing or rebuking the thing that has stolen that love, Blue in Green, brings us close, reminding us to cling to that which makes love worth loving in the first place, ‘Let summer wash its face/and stand in the pasture/and gather up its green buttons.’ Let Blue in Green be the book that rewards its readers with the seamless confluence of dream-life and real-life, awaking us to the fact that recovery takes time, but also takes unwavering examination.”

F. Douglas Brown, author of ICON

Table of Contents

Acknowledgments  xi
When I Was a Wave [I was willing]  3
Last Will and Testament  00
Never Mind Why  00
Landscape is a word with fraught connotations  00
Works on Paper  00
The Lion-Wheel  00
The Fox Emerging from Shadow  00
The Winter Mirror  00
I guess it must be the flag of my disposition  00
If I Asked You To  00
Blue in Green  00
Tinder  00
A Blessing Compared to a Window  00
J-572 (431) I  00
Composition No. 311  00
Water, Water, Water  00
Composition No. 152  00
A Musical Sense of Life  00
When I Was a Wave [The narcissus]  00
Let me be just a little bit bitter so I remember:  00
Dear Little Song,  00
A Story about Longing  00
Dear Past and Future Metastasis,  00
My Throat in the Field  00
I imagined all the place-names as code  00
object state time space certainty  00
The Play Within  00
The Fire That Consumes All Before It  00
Dear Ilium,  00
A Letter  00
A Program for Control of Of  00
Dear Transformation,  00
A Warning  00
For Ghosted Girls  00
Notes  00

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