A philosophical tour de force melding astrophysics and grief by the American maestra of the prose poem
“If memory serves, it was five years ago that yours began to refuse,” Rosmarie Waldrop writes to her husband in The Nick of Time
. “Does it feel like crossing from an open field into the woods, the sunlight suddenly switched off? Or like a roof without edge or frame, pushed sideways in time?” Ten years in the making, Waldrop’s phenomenally beautiful new collection explores the felt nature of existence as well as gravity and velocity, the second hemisphere of time, mortality and aging, language and immigration, a Chinese primer, the artist Hannah Höch, and dwarf stars. Of one sequence, “White Is a Color,” first published as a chapbook, the Irish poet Billy Mills wrote, “In what must be less than 1000 words, Waldrop says more about the human condition and how we explore it through words than most of us would manage in a thousand pages.” Love blooms in the cut, in the gap, in the nick between memory and thought, sentence and experience. Like the late work of Cézanne, Waldrop’s art has found a new way of seeing and thinking that “vibrates on multiple registers through endless, restless exploration” (citation for the Los Angeles Times
Rosmarie Waldrop, born in Germany in 1935, is the author of several books of poetry, fiction, and essays, and a noted translator of French and German poetry. Her most recent books are The Nick of Time, Gap Gardening: Selected Poems (winner of the Los Angeles Book Prize), and Driven to Abstraction. She is a member of the American Academy of Arts of Letters, and is a Chevalier of the Ordre des Arts et des Lettres. For fifty-six years, she and her husband Keith Waldrop ran one of the country’s most vibrant experimental poetry presses, Burning Deck, in Providence, Rhode Island.
Waldrop’s art wrenches clarity out of disorientation, and rather than to distraction, drives us, inimitably toward the keenest attention, to words, her words, and the world.
— John Keene - Drunken Boat
Rosmarie Waldrop’s life work has cultivated a trenchant penchant for the liminal, the interstitial, the hybrid, the fertile ground between identities and homelands.
— Kevin Carollo - Rain Taxi
[Waldrop’s poetry] makes us think hard about the way language works, and about how words catalyze reality, rather than transcribe it.
— Dan Chiasson - The New YorkerThe Nick of Time
...contains some of the finest writing of her distinguished career. [T]emporality, always an underlying concern of her work, moves unmistakably to the fore.
— Ryan Ruby - Poetry Foundation
In her first new collection in a decade, Waldrop astonishes with poems that explore uncertainty and grief, and reckon with time, language, and memory….These intellectual poems are suffused with intimacy, as Waldrop invites the reader to accompany her on a contemplative trek through the mysteries of the universe. It’s a trip well worth taking.
— Publishers Weekly, (starred review)