Unicorn Press 2016
Poetry as Claire Millikin

“In this remarkable collection, Claire Millikin has made her own persistent music of a fully felt, fully experienced life in which ‘what’s broken never heals completely.’ Often edging into what seems unspeakable, she finds a language that remains plain, steady, scrupulous, unsentimental and unshowy. Poem after poem registers the poet’s ‘battle for the moral world’—illuminating not only a single life but its human and environmental surroundings. As a motif draws us to the heart of a piece of music, Millikin’s recurrent emblem is the centering fact and force of television: its role—fractured, phantasmagoric and familiar—in home and family, and in the wider world, where it may exercise its ‘balm of blue light.’ What I find especially admirable is how these poems offer such a palpable and persuasive sense of a rich—if sometimes thwarted—inner life pushing its own boundaries of perception into the luminous and illuminating zones of the articulate. Always deeply reflective, the poems look inward and outward at once, allowing us to see and sympathise with the kinetic activity of a consciousness grasping—in every sense—the world that is shaping it. It can be a world of hunger, tattered clothes, rusted chassis, bewildering motion, ‘parking lots smeared with ice,’ a world in which the child, the growing poet, has ‘no house but this watchfulness.’ But in this watchfulness she abides and makes stubborn and dignified sense. Confronting in her own way ‘time that swallows all things,’ she asks ‘How shall I build myself from words.’ Well, in Television, she, simply, has.” –Eamon Grennan, author of Still Life with Waterfall