Arda Collins’s second book of poems, Star Lake, is a deeply personal collection that explores the ways our notions of daily life touch the presence of the eternal. With memory as the backdrop of many poems, including the loss of the poet's parents and her experience growing up in a family of survivors from the Armenian genocide, Collins often overlays images of landscapes, weather, and domestic interiors with a tone of melancholy—“Who is the water and who is the light? / A shiver, a love, one you miss, and a wish.” But Star Lake is also a collection of love poems, poems about the creation of new memories with family, tracing out imaginative shapes for their futures. In this Yale Younger Poets award winner’s new collection, Collins returns with truly unforgettable poems that haunt and comfort.
In spare, riveting lines,ArdaCollins’s new poems enact a torque between immediacy and distance, between a visceral near—“An orange in the dark / is like lake air at night,” and a resplendent far—“Down the boulevard … Versailles is everywhere.” Against the shadows of Armenian genocide and family deaths, the speaker’s calls to “come in the window” or “come to time” are less commands than invocations and the ground for stunning evocations. This is a book of wonders. —Arthur Sze
More than just a book, Star Lake is a tactile experience. A touchable journey wherein each stanza, each image comes to life before a reader. When the wind is summoned in the poem, a breeze blows in through a window you didn't even know you had open. All to say that this is a book of immense brilliance and immense possibility. Beckoning with new revelations around each corner. —Hanif Abdurraqib
Arda Collins is the author of It Is Daylight (2009), which was awarded the Yale Series of Younger Poets Prize. Her work has appeared in The New Yorker, The American Poetry Review, A Public Space, Colorado Review, jubilat, and elsewhere. She is a recipient of the Sarton Award in Poetry from the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.