Between My Eye and the Light

Trade Paper – $16.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-3055-5

E-book – $16.95

ISBN 978-0-8101-6819-0
Publication Date
November 2014
Page Count
88 pages
Trim Size
6.125 x 8.5

Between My Eye and the Light


“Hole torn in the language, / How shall we speak?” The very first lines of the first poem in Paul Breslin’s artful second collection of poetry, Between My Eye and the Light, demand an answer, of both poet and reader, to the seemingly unspeakable tragedies of modern life. The rest of the collection forms a beautifully insistent exercise in the power of language to engage experiences both mundane and profound. Breslin queries far-flung corners of experience for answers, engaging childhood, his longtime home of Chicago, small moments of life, and profound encounters with artists such Rainer Maria Rilke and Derek Walcott. The poems even query the opening question. While pat answers elude us, poetry is a bulwark against cliche and cynicism, strengthening those who have the courage to question and explore the corners of experience.

About the Author

Paul Breslin is professor emeritus at Northwestern University. His most recent book is a translation of Aimé Césaire’s The Tragedy of King Christophe, forthcoming this season in the Northwestern World Classics series. His poems, essays, and reviews have appeared in Agni, American Poetry Review, American Scholar, Callaloo, New Republic, New York Times Book Review, Ploughshares, Poetry, TriQuarterly, Virginia Quarterly, and elsewhere. He has won six Illinois Arts Council prizes for literary essays and poems, and was twice winner of Poetry magazine’s George Kent prize.

Paul Breslin's accomplished new collection culminates in a dazzling display of abecedarian verve.  Leading up to that triumph are poems witty and contemplative, fierce and forlorn—all captivating!—Sandra M. Gilbert

Brilliant and intense, Paul Breslin’s Between My Eye and the Light observes a coarse post-9/11 world in which “The living freeze in fear and turn away.” By turns civic-minded and intimate, dissenting and resigned, the poems admit paradox in elegant and unexpected ways. Acknowledging the limitations of words and voices, Breslin offers a reflection on the ineffable that is articulate, passionate, and deeply evocative.—Maggie Dietz