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A Night in Brooklyn

Poems

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Hardcover published by Knopf (Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group)

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About This Book
D. Nurkse’s deeply satisfying new collection is a haunted love letter to the far corners of his hometown, Brooklyn, New York, and a meditation on the selves that were left behind in those indelible places.

Here Nurkse brings alive the particular details that shape a life, in this case unique to the world of Brooklyn—a job at the Arnold Grill, “topping off drafts with a paddle” for the truckers who came in; the deaf white alley cat that mysteriously survived the winter on a stoop in Bensonhurst; the narrow bed where young love took place; the wild gardens behind the tenements. His exploration of this almost mythic city past is combined with a sense of the future speeding toward us—the ongoing riddle of time and being in a larger universe.
 
 . . . And she who was driving said,
We know the coming disaster intimately but the present is unknowable.
 
Which disaster, I wondered, sexual or geological? But I was shy:
her beauty was like a language she didn’t speak and had never heard.
 
From “The Present”
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D. Nurkse’s deeply satisfying new collection is a haunted love letter to the far corners of his hometown, Brooklyn, New York, and a meditation on the selves that were left behind in those indelible places.

Here Nurkse brings alive the particular details that shape a life, in this case unique to the world of Brooklyn—a job at the Arnold Grill, “topping off drafts with a paddle” for the truckers who came in; the deaf white alley cat that mysteriously survived the winter on a stoop in Bensonhurst; the narrow bed where young love took place; the wild gardens behind the tenements. His exploration of this almost mythic city past is combined with a sense of the future speeding toward us—the ongoing riddle of time and being in a larger universe.
 
 . . . And she who was driving said,
We know the coming disaster intimately but the present is unknowable.
 
Which disaster, I wondered, sexual or geological? But I was shy:
her beauty was like a language she didn’t speak and had never heard.
 
From “The Present”
Product Details
Hardcover (96 pages)
Published: July 10, 2012
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Imprint: Knopf
ISBN: 9780307959324
Other books byD. Nurkse
  • The Fall

    The Fall
    In this elegant collection, D. Nurkse elegizes a lost father, a foreshortened childhood, and a young marriage. From the drenched lawns of suburbia to the streets of Brooklyn, he delivers up the small but crucial epiphanies that propel an American coming-of-age and chronicles the development of a tender yet exacting consciousness. As the diversions of childhood prefigure the heartbreak of adulthood, Nurkse captures the exquisite sadness of each small “fall” that carries us further from our early innocence. In the book’s final section, the poet turns to face mortality with a series of stirring poems about illness in midlife. Throughout, Nurkse celebrates the sheer strangeness of our perceptions in a language that is both astute and surpassingly lyrical. From the Hardcover edition.

    The Border Kingdom

    The Border Kingdom
    In a collection of urgent and intimate poems, D. Nurkse explores the biblical past and the terrifying politics of the present with which it resonates, the legacy of fathers and the flawed kingdoms they leave their sons. In “Ben Adan,” a stunning poem in the opening sequence of the collection, we witness the stirring drama between a captor and the prisoner commanded to dig his own grave (“perhaps in a moment / he will lift me up / and hold me trembling, / more scared than I / and more relieved”). “After a Bombing” examines children’s drawings as deep symbolic reactions to 9/11. The subtly majestic “Lament for the Makers of Brooklyn” builds the poignant case for a lost world: “Where is Policastro the locksmith now?” the poet asks. “Half-blind, he wore two pairs of glasses / held together by duct tape, / . . . / afterward the key turned / for you but not for me.” A poet of unique force and sensitivity, Nurkse refuses to pass over the marginal characters and corners of the world, attuned to the scraps of beauty or insight they might offer up in the midst of moral darkness. In The Border Kingdom he has given us an exceptionally powerful collection of poems—unfailingly rich in imagery, undaunted in subject and spirit. Jericho Sometimes in a high window a white curtain knotted against itself gives a glimpse of the lovers as they were before the war: with great concentration and silence they undo a mother-of-pearl snap while a cat perched on the sill looks down with burning eyes. From the Hardcover edition.

    Burnt Island

    Burnt Island
    D. Nurkse’s Burnt Island explores tragedy both grand and intimate, in city and country, in our own troubled moment and across the greater scope of geological time. Arranged in three “suites” of lucid, often heart-wrenching verse, the book begins with a city under siege, in a group of poems that becomes a subtle homage to New York after 9/11–a metaphorical “burnt island,” where diggers doze on their shovels, citizens contribute bottles of water, M&M’s, and casseroles to recovery efforts, and survivors, mesmerized by the photos of the missing, compare them “scar by scar with the faces of the living.” Nurkse then takes up the journey of a couple starting again in nature at a specific place called Burnt Island, where the elements instruct them, seeming to mirror their conflicts and strife. Finally, in a charming and profound series of poems centered on marine ecology, he finds the infinite in the infinitesimally small, and offers us, in sparkling, mysterious verses, the strange comfort that comes with observing the life of the ocean. we are like you because we are born by the billions and float into the open ocean– . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . we live another second or much less, less than a blink, until the code comes to know itself and the mind dreams another mind that will survive it there, in the bright curtain of spray. (from “The Granite Coast”) From the Hardcover edition.

    The Rules of Paradise

    The Rules of Paradise

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