The 26-Hour Day
“Our rituals are themselves created by the very objects they mimic to control. Thus, the rituals of poetry were rehearsed by language long before the poems began. Olivia Clare knows and celebrates this numinous reversion. In the midst of her vocables, she speaks for meaning where the meanings are. The 26-Hour Day is a compelling debut.”
“Olivia Clare’s The 26-Hour Day is aptly named. There isn’t enough time in a given day to reach what this book desires. A collection adept in the traditional tools of our genre, the poems here are equally at ease within the province of the image and the ekphrastic, while charting a path from metric to music. And what music is here!
Balladic, symphonic, devoted to the operatic, this lovely debut works its way finally to…the sentence. What Gertrude Stein taught Ernest Hemingway about the glories of repetition, the mistakenness of the pronoun, is taken to a luminous 21st century understanding in Clare’s loving hands. I can almost say I love our language again, reading this tender book.”
“Olivia Clare spends her poems like erotic currency, treating us to a greater understanding of our fetishistic carnality, and its attendant mortality. I love her work.”
“Olivia Clare keeps what Emily Dickinson called ‘Esoteric Time.’ In the title poem, a dark berceuse, the hour is ‘black bear o’clock,’ a spell beyond tell-able time for which not even the 26 letters of the alphabet, evoked by the title, are a guaranteed talisman. ‘Cryonics’ admonishes a depressed friend, ‘caught / in an hourglass neck / of cells not dividing,’ to ‘revive: / child the father / of the sand.’ References to seconds, minutes, hourglasses, sands, clocks, gnomon, dials, and all manner of measuring, counting, and ‘telling’ time abound, as the speaker, with widdershins pluck, provocatively reverses, transgresses, and teases such limitations to fashion worlds that exempt themselves from any static or linear notion of past, present, future, or place. By attempting to word this ineffable, manifold ‘within’ time, Clare conjures a cosmological wunderkammer, ‘[k]indred, in a flickering place.’”
—Lisa Russ Spaar
Olivia Clare’s poems have appeared inPoetry, Southern Review, Notre Dame Review, London Magazine, and other journals. Short stories have appeared in journals including Southern Review, Yale Review, Kenyon Review Online, andEcotone. Her awards for poetry include the Olive B. O’Connor Fellowship at Colgate University and the Ruth Lilly Fellowship from the Poetry Foundation. For her fiction, she’s received an O. Henry Award and a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer’s Award. www.olivia-clare.com