Winner of the 2012 Brittingham Prize in Poetry, selected by Jean Valentine
Ronald Wallace, Series Editor
“This poet takes risks: not easy, her originality waits and gives life. In Danziger’s flying language and deep intelligence, here are grief not formalized, joy not smoothed out.”
—Jean Valentine, National Book Award Winner
“Jazzy Danziger is the girl next door of American letters, giving voice to the ordinary with an astonishing grace, language at once elegant and fierce, deft and dazzling. The divergence of her themes electrifies the graceful surfaces of her work with intricacy and desire. Darkroom is a luminous, stunning debut.”
—Alice Anderson, author of Human Nature
In the aftermath of her mother’s suicide, one young woman recognizes the malleability of her reality. From her adolescence in the flat, hot Floridian landscape to a tectonic Missouri adulthood, a girl shaped by grief is compelled to create and manipulate her image of the world. As her dreams become indistinguishable from daily life, she begins to question memory, identity, and the function of love.
Employing photography as its central metaphor, Darkroom tackles the tangled relationship between memory and mourning by exploring an artist’s impossible attempt to recreate the object of loss.
“We mangled our subjects after the shot—
technique hushing the grain. The body had its hunger
and its words, the agitations and stop baths,
the vinegar and burn
and fingernails blacked. Our brutal selves reeling
the strips onto spools. The world made new,
and blooming, and dumb.”
—excerpt from Darkroom
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