“Break the Glass,” by Jean Valentine

Little Star welcomes the appearance of Break the Glass, an enigmatic and limpid new book from Jean Valentine.

Some of our favorite poems from Break the Glass are available on line:

“In Prison” and “Hawkins Stable” in The New Yorker

“The Whitewashed Walls” at Copper Canyon Press

“Time is Matter Here” on Poetry Daily

One that is not is “As rosy steps the morn,” but you can hear Lorraine Hunt Lieberson, to whom this poem is dedicated, gorgeously sing Handel’s area of that name here.


Buy Break the Glass

Hear Jean Valentine read “The Basket House” and “My Old Body” and other lovely and delicate poems here.

By the way. The arrival of “Break the Glass” gives us a moment to appreciate another one of the great small presses that now carry much of the water for American literature.  Like a number of our defining small presses, such as Graywolf, Godine, and Ugly Duckling, Copper Canyon got its start as a letterpress.  Interesting that poets are drawn to forms of production that take a bit of time and sit well in the hand.  Copper Canyon was founded by poet Sam Hamill and friends when he won a $500 prize for editing a college literary magazine and bought a printing press with the proceeds.  After years of reaching for a few more readers for the writers they loved, they converted fully to trade publishing in 1983 and became a nonprofit in 1990.  Born and raised in Washington state, Copper Canyon continues to publish work with a Western flavor—poems with some air in them and some memory of the beats and the meditative traditions of the Pacific—though central to the American canon.  Their pressmark is the beautiful Chinese character for poetry, made up of the words for “word” and “temple.”


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