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EVENINGFUL

Jennifer Whalen

 May 1, 2024

Eveningful is author Jennifer Whalen's first book of poems, and is the winner of the Lightscater Press Prize, awareded in 2023 and chosen by judge Rick Barot. Interested in thresholds---the sky-smear between night and day, the rift between the speaker’s mind and the outward world---the poems often follow nighttime observations and experiences, navigating two parallel desires: to be seen, but also to see more clearly, exploring the realities complicating vulnerability for young women, and the power of thresholds to regulate and free the self. 

Order EVENINGFUL here. 15% preorder discount till 5/1!

ISBN: 978-1-7364835-4-1
Format: Paperback

IT'S SEVEN

So like the delicate setting

of a picnic blanket in the sun,

the bright dining room hushed 

 

to a dim-lit corridor. 

Patrons slid off their heels, smeared bare feet 

against legs beneath tablecloths. 

 

I don’t know why our sex breathes 

in shadows. Yes, exceptions abound. 

Somewhere there’s a meadow 

 

where people love in the sun, 

maybe. But that room had robbed time 

of time—strange, I know, 

 

but I needed the sunset-splayed 

brawny yawn across day; the sun

sliding down, slow-down, 

 

until it halos some hill. I tried 

to pretend love waited in this—forking 

an Alaskan fish, my eyes just shy 

 

of refusing eye contact. 

It is too much to have a body, 

to monitor its functions 

 

so on luck-lustered nights 

it meets another body—a toast! 

to pat fork against glass 

 

while expanding my throat: 

I had this grand feeling something 

grand should happen, but 

 

the waiter waltzed round 

lighting candles as if silent ceremony 

followed next. The evening kept on 

 

flickering shoddy evening 

when I imagined myself moving—

faint figure on a dense floor 

 

drifting deeply to melody,

sweat-peppered skin; how glorious we

can be when only vague fractions. 

 

If I leave now, go 

west away enough, it may still be dark 

when I get there. 


from EVENINGFUL. First published  in The Boiler, Issue XXI, Fall 2016.

About the Author

Jennifer Whalen (she/her) is a poet & educator from the Northern Kentucky/Cincinnati, Ohio area. Her poems can be found in Gulf Coast, Denver Quarterly, Southern Indiana Review, New South, Grist, The Boiler, & elsewhere. She previously served as writer-in-residence at Texas State University’s Clark House and currently teaches English at the University of Illinois Springfield.

EVENINGFUL  is her first book of poems.

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