Poetry. "There is an uneasy tenderness to C. J. Evans's A PENANCE. His poems trouble desire, they trouble the world ('The world is furious and I'm so tired / of being furious with it.') until it fractures into the sort of captivating music a modern day Orpheus might sing: 'they know I'll end in their arms, and how tenderly / they'll rip my body.' Evans articulates the violence as well as the beauty of passion with a style that is assured and impressionistic, haunting and precise. He is a magnificent poet. This is a magnificent debut."—Terrance Hayes
"The elegantly armored, brutally beautiful poems that make up A PENANCE call to mind Wallace Stevens's description of imaginative nobility as 'a violence from within that protects us from a violence without.' They present a psyche no less troubled by the ruthlessness of reality than by its own strong appetite for escapism—the work of a mind that thinks 'it's striking / how much dark there is // in this world that houses / diamonds and rivers' even as it questions its own 'wish for a pillowed world // where we slip into / each others' arms and then let fall.' That Evans is able to convert such turmoil into complex, sonically rich, wide-awake and insightful poems is a testament not only to his artistry as a poet (it is immense) but also, ultimately, to an almost miraculous sense of hope."—Timothy Donnelly
Author City: SAN FRANCISCO, CA USA
C. J. Evans is the author of The Category of Outcast, a chapbook published by the Poetry Society of America in 2009; and co-edited, with Brenda Shaughnessy, Satellite Convulsions: Poems from Tin House (2008). He works as the managing editor of TWO LINES: World Writing in Translation and is a contributing editor for Tin House. He lives in San Francisco with his wife, daughter, and three-legged cat.
Reviews and Other Links
Cate Peebles @ Coldfront