Poem by Maxine Chernoff

Maxine Chernoff (pictured above) lives in California, where (among other things) she co-edits New American Writing.

Ms. Chernoff is the author of many books of poems, such as Among The Names, and six collections of fiction including Some of Her Friends That Year, a new and selected stories from Coffee House Press.

I am very happy to welcome her to Eyewear. She is one of the American writers of her generation who one should read, in order to know what contemporary American writing is, and what it will turn out to be.

I especially enjoy poems with the word "gentians" in them, being a fan of D.H. Lawrence, these blasted gentians being altered Bavarian Gentians. I should note that one of her novels is A Boy In Winter, which is a lovely mirroring of Larkin's novel title.

A House in the Country is Not the Same as a Country House

Not wanting to name it,

it stayed in its bed

Until a break

in the weather

uncovered the reason

the restive urge

Until he found a way

over the mountains by elephant

Until he rested a means

from the fog, until,

veiled but uncovered,

he managed to express

his longings in something

formerly characterized

as art among those

who make a fetish

of unmasking

the general motives

behind the tragedy

of belonging

He thought it was wrong

to express this panic among

the uncertain crowd

Displaying the colors

he had earlier


parsing the rhetoric

to reveal the sore

in the shrine

the blasted gentians

He sealed the hope

beneath the faraway


a thread of cognition

to angle the moonlight

constructing a realism

that consoled

even as it found

itself wanting

poem by Maxine Chernoff
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