Paper $18.00 ISBN: 9780226207032 Published March 2015
E-book $7.00 to $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226207179 Published March 2015 Also Available From
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Ozone Journal

Peter Balakian

Ozone Journal

Peter Balakian

72 pages | 6 x 9 | © 2015
Paper $18.00 ISBN: 9780226207032 Published March 2015
E-book $7.00 to $18.00 About E-books ISBN: 9780226207179 Published March 2015
from "Ozone Journal"
Bach’s cantata in B-flat minor in the cassette,
we lounged under the greenhouse-sky, the UVBs hacking
at the acids and oxides and then I could hear the difference
between an oboe and a bassoon
at the river’s edge under cover—
trees breathed in our respiration;
there was something on the other side of the river,
something both of us were itching toward—
radical bonds were broken, history became science.
We were never the same.
The title poem of Peter Balakian's Ozone Journal is a sequence of fifty-four short sections, each a poem in itself, recounting the speaker's memory of excavating the bones of Armenian genocide victims in the Syrian desert with a crew of television journalists in 2009. These memories spark others—the dissolution of his marriage, his life as a young single parent in Manhattan in the nineties, visits and conversations with a cousin dying of AIDS—creating a montage that has the feel of history as lived experience. Bookending this sequence are shorter lyrics that span times and locations, from Nairobi to the Native American villages of New Mexico. In the dynamic, sensual language of these poems, we are reminded that the history of atrocity, trauma, and forgetting is both global and ancient; but we are reminded, too, of the beauty and richness of culture and the resilience of love.

Name and Place
Pueblo 1, New Mexico
Pueblo 2, New Mexico
Pueblo, Christmas Dance
Joe Louis’s Fist
Hart Crane in LA, 1927
Providence/Teheran, ’79
Warhol/Mao, ’72
Baseball Days, ’61

Ozone Journal

Here and Now
Slum Drummers, Nairobi
Leaving Aleppo
Near the Border
Silk Road

Review Quotes
Alexander Oliver | The Literary Review
"Balakian uses history to present readers with a fossil record of orchestrated disasters, both personal and on a grander scale. Though his memories are separated from the bones of Armenia’s great genocide by time and space and suffering, they have an organic quality that is fresh and uniquely personal."
Kristina Marie Darling | Colorado Review
"What distinguishes Ozone Journal is the prominent role that silence plays in conveying the memories of trauma, and the sense of mourning that remain indelibly inscribed in the contemporary cultural imagination. . . . [Balakian's] poems offer a mournful silence in the face of social upheavals, and their aftermath, that is only possible within the realm of art."
Bruce Smith, author of Devotions
"In his new book, Ozone Journal, Balakian masterfully does the things nobody else does—derange history into poetry, make poetry painting, make painting culture, make culture living—and with a historical depth that finds the right experience in language."
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