Badgers at dusk, the dark bird of a dream or an omen, white-robed nuns—in this, the follow-up to her Walt Whitman Award-winning collection The Cult of the Right Hand, Elaine Terranova paints a world in chiaroscuro. Hers is a vision that moves from the shadows of everyday life to its brighter sparks of meaning. The central characters are ourselves and our alter egos, one whole and flowering in the world, the other damaged. Whether in narrative or in lyric revelation, the poet assumes many voices, each telling of human longing and how it is answered. Damaged are the abused children fleeing with their mother in “Rush Hour,” the disfigured young woman of “The Line,” the woman awaiting diagnosis of the lump in her breast. These cautionary tales reveal a courage of spirit that outshines our vulnerability and even the limits of love to protect us.

ISBN: 9781556591051

Format: Paperback

About the Author

Born in 1939 in Philadelphia, Elaine Terranova grew up in a working-class neighborhood and has held a variety of jobs: factory worker, office temp, preschool teacher, and editor. She taught at the Community College of Philadelphia, Temple University, the University of Delaware, and in the Rutgers, Camden MFA program. She is author of seven collections of poetry. Terranova’s first book, The Cult of the Right Hand (Doubleday), was chosen by Rita Dove for the 1990 Walt Whitman Award from the …

Read more


“Here is a volume of mature imagery to outlast the normal shelf life, a work whose music stirs us with each rereading.” —Portlandia Review of Books

“Ever aware of the variety of human experience—and able to capture it in vividly rendered poems that show a fine ear for language at its most musical—Terranova has been building a reputation in the literary world.” —Library Journal