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Etel Adnan


Etel Adnan was born in 1925. She has written more than a dozen books of poetry, fiction, and essays. Her most recent poetry collections are Night (Nightboat Books, 2016) and the forthcoming Surge (Nightboat Books, 2018). Adnan is a recipient of a PEN Oakland-Josephine Miles Award, the California Book Award, a Lambda Book Award, and a Chevalier des Arts et des Lettres. She lives in Paris.

By This Poet


from "Surge"

A long night I spent
thinking that reality was the story
of the human species

the vanquished search for the vanquished

Sounds come by, ruffling my soul

I sense space’s elasticity, 
go on reading the books she wrote on the
wars she’s seen

Why do seasons who regularly follow
their appointed time, deny their kind of energy
to us?

why is winter followed by a few
more days of winter? 

We came to transmit the shimmering
from which we came; to name it

we deal with a permanent voyage,
the becoming of that which itself had