"Chiaroscuro is not just a technique of Renaissance painters; it is the way of the contemporary world. Michael Gessner’s Nightshades catches moments of light in lines, in stanzas – stanza in Italian means room – that brief time between becoming and ending; surfers and a wave (or just after); an image and a thought; shades half-pulled between light and dark; knowing and not knowing, offering an invitation to enter (yet also maintaining a certain distance). Edward Young wrote of the battle between ancients and moderns; hear in these poems neither conflict nor competition, but an appreciation of all possibilities for understanding through artistry."
- Dennis Barone, author of Frame Narrative
"Michael Gessner’s enthusiasm for poetic synthesis is ably displayed in these mature poems of praise, myth, mystery and fervent search. Before the “great wall of eternal enigmas,” “the ghosts of history appear to reappear,” and in “the blue hour … of every ambition … [there is] Innocence in every motion that seeks / another ensemble, in the purity / that is only purity.” Nightshades’ soulful performances strike a balance of classic and modern. In their communing music, the reader is lifted, heartened and warmed."
—Elana Wolff, author of Swoon, winner of the 2020 Canadian Jewish Literary Award for Poetry
Poetry. Contemporary Poetry.
Poetry Foundation WebsiteBlazeVox WebsiteAuthor Website
Michael Gessner has authored 14 books of poetry and prose. From the most recent, Selected Poems ( FutureCycle Press, 2016,) The Poetry Foundation selected several for its digital archive site, (2017). He has been a finalist in several competitions including 'Discovery/The Nation,' 'The Pablo Neruda Award,' and North American Review's James Hearst Poetry Prize. His work appears in The American Journal of Poetry, American Letters & Commentary, American Literary Review, The French Literary Review, Innisfree, Jacket2, Juniper, Kenyon Review, Nimrod, North American Review, Oxford Review, Pacific Review, Patterson Literary Review, Poem, Poetry Quarterly, Rue des Beaux-Arts (Paris,) Sycamore Review, Verse Daily, Wallace Stevens Journal, Web del Sol, Wisconsin Review, The Yale Journal of Humanities and others. He is a voting member of the National Book Critics Circle. Other publications and information may be found at https://www.poetryfoundation.org/poets/michael-gessner or https://www.michaelgessner.com/