The Price of Scarlet
Published by: The University Press of Kentucky
118 Pages, 5.50 x 8.50 in
- Published: February 2017
A honeycomb long vacated by honeybees still possesses an "echo of the swarm, / a lingering song ." Living things are made and make themselves: "My bones came first. / Like long needles, / they knitted muscle / and tendon / and tissue and skin. / Filled themselves / with marrow."
In her debut collection, Brianna Noll fuses the scientific and fantastic, posing probing questions that explore the paradoxes of experience. Interweaving themes of creation, art, and nature, the poet gives voice to animate and inanimate figures such as woolly mammoths, star-nosed moles, cells, mylar balloons, and puzzle boxes. Her vivid poems obscure the line between what is literal and what is figurative. The result is alchemic and ethereal -- each verse intricately layered with sharp observation as well as emotional and intellectual exploration and questioning.
Collectively, the poems draw significantly on Japanese culture and language in their imagery, with cultural nuances and implications embedded in words and expressions. They tend to be tied, not to subjects, but to ways of seeing and considering the world. Noll's lyrical voice reflects a curious and imaginative approach that results in tight poems, typically enjambed, which build together into a thoughtful collection. Her work offers ways of seeing and considering the world that exceed our lived experience, begging the reader to consider how far we are willing to go when faced with roadblocks, doubts, and uncertainties.
"Brianna Noll's vivid, haunting collection contains poetry wide-ranging and deep, with a brilliance reminiscent of Marianne Moore, and a similar interest in creation." -- Lisa Williams, author of Women Reading to the Sea and Gazelle in the House
"Brianna Noll is on the find-out committee. Like an Emily Dickinson for the twenty-first century, she rules out nothing. These quiet, powerful poems tells us that the world is connected, that all we need to see those connections is what Noll has in abundance: openness, patience, and an eye for beauty." -- David Kirby, author of Get Up, Please
" The Price of Scarlet doesn't sneak up on the reader as much as it swallows the reader whole, pushes us out at the other end, more erudite than upon entrance. There's a certainty in every poem, whether she is investigating the nature of the wind or invoking the Kraken from the deep. This is a remarkable first book of poems. From the first poem to the last these solid poems feel polished to a fine gloss. Read The Price of Scarlet, it will intoxicate you." -- Today's Book of Poetry