Poetry. LGBTQIA Studies. Women's Studies. Many of the poems in Camille Norton's A FOLIO FOR THE DARK seem to be ghostwritten— by the first prisoner of the first panopticon prison in America, by a young Confederate soldier in a prison camp on Maryland's Eastern Shore, or by Edgar Allan Poe as he struggles to compose himself inside the history of his own trauma: "I carried a blank page lightly in my portmanteau." We take stock
of Thomas Jefferson's possessions on the night of his death. We read between the lines of William Byrd's diary as channeled by Gertrude Stein: "It was now the season for whipping and rogering." These imaginary transcriptions are voices overheard during a poet's own education. In other poems, Norton addresses the prison-house of girlhood as the first phase of her education. "Listening to Trains" conjures the promise of escape in the sound of trains passing along the railway tracks behind her house in Philadelphia: "Whiskey and water and the sound of the trains / all those years like the sigh of the wind soughing." In "The Black Dog," the speaker tells us about the legacy of alcoholism and depression passed down through the Irish line of her family. A FOLIO FOR THE DARK traces between lyricism and materialism in poems reverberating with the energy of reading and writing one's way into a life.
Camille Norton's most recent book of poetry is A FOLIO FOR THE DARK: POEMS (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2019). Her first book of poems, Corruption (Harper Perennial), was a 2004 National Poetry Series Winner. Her work has appeared in The Best American Poetry, FIELD, American Poets, and The Colorado Review. She has collaborated with composers and visual artists since the 1990s and is a Professor of English Literature and Creative Writing at University of the Pacific in Stockton, California.Author City: STOCKTON, CA USA