Underlight. Ugly Duckling, Brooklyn, NY 2012.

“Aaron McCollough’s poetry is a living system that is one part the assaulted world and one part the world’s conscious surveyor. In Underlight ‘a private sorrow drapes’ revealing an ecology of disappointment where the poet reports ‘hearing at least feels like holding and where else does it go.’ While the music here plumbs various shapes a final hour can take, it also insists we should never agree to an end without first having our most heartfelt say, ‘Making love, we used the dark for leverage.’ Underlight is full of such impossible machines all doing emergency work.” —Peter Richards

“Underlight shines its luminescence under bodies large and small. Desiccated spiders, fields of clover, a leaf’s spine, the anatomy of the soul, an entire forest’s understory, all unfold under this stunning light. Drawn in through vision, the urge to see becomes the urge to hold, however tenuous such holdings might be. But what is held in this book is held aside in ecstasy, until even what I knew I held—my own body—stands beside me. Under ‘the pressure and underlight, / where soul is burin / and self is soft line away,’ I look at looking. I am blinded by this book’s dark beauty, its careful precision, its generous offerings. I cannot look away.” —Sasha Steensen

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