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!
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.