Crossing the Equator: New and Selected Poems 1972-2004

Crossing the Equator: New and Selected Poems 1972-2004

by Nicholas Christopher

Paperback(First Edition)

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Nicholas Christopher has been praised as one of America’s most important poets by such literary talents as John Ashbery, Charles Simic, James Merrill, and Anthony Hecht. Crossing the Equator collects Christopher’s best work from the past three decades and includes a section of new poems that are among his finest.

Cold missiles and a rain

of embers accompany the men

who slide like shadows into the city

faces mud-smeared

stones for teeth no eyes

who slit the throats of everyone

they encounter until breaking down

my door they drag me into the darkness

that floods the corridor

and lock me in an icy chamber


Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780156031400
Publisher: HMH Books
Publication date: 01/03/2013
Edition description: First Edition
Pages: 242
Product dimensions: 5.25(w) x 8.00(h) x 0.61(d)

About the Author

NICHOLAS CHRISTOPHER is the author of seven volumes of poetry, five novels, and a cultural history of film noir. He is a regular contributor to the New Yorker, Esquire, the Nation, the New Republic, the Paris Review, and other notable magazines. A professor in the School of the Arts at Columbia University, he lives in New York City.

Read an Excerpt

Lake Como

The searchlight of a February moon at the end of the street bare trees black railing an eastern star set like a pearl atop a steeple that shadows the doorway where the one-armed card sharp squats shuffling his deck on a milk crate waiting for the No. 6 bus to discharge the off-duty cop the seamstress the drunken mechanic and the clerk on crutches who pauses before his building to watch the mechanic lose three dollars at blackjack and then stiffly ascends the five flights to his two rooms on a shaftway hanging his coat on a hook and sitting down at the table on which this morning he placed a soup bowl and spoon a tin of crackers and the crossword puzzle he had been laboring over beneath the gaze of his late wife her color photograph propped up in a small frame a young woman in a boxy dress and felt cap waving shyly by the edge of a lake where over her shoulder beneath a clear sky a sailboat rides the wind passengers on the polished deck gazing at the glowing mountain peaks the cypresses lining the shore and the pink palazzi with ancient gardens these men and women in white who seem to live upon the water gliding among themselves oblivious to strife and all else that wears a body down some sipping from crystal goblets others just drinking in the light

Copyright © 2004 by Nicholas Christopher

All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic or mechanical,
including photocopy, recording, or any information storage and retrieval system, without permission in writing from the publisher.

Requests for permission to make copies of any part of the work should be mailed to the following address:
Permissions Department, Harcourt, Inc., 6277 Sea Harbor Drive,
Orlando, Florida 32887-6777.

Table of Contents

New Poems

Lake Como
The Last Hours of Laódikê, Sister of Hektor
14 rue Serpentine (1-14)
Robert Desnos in Havana, 1928
Ultima Thule
The Woman in the Quarter Moon Kimono
The Desert

From On Tour with Rita (1982)

Double Solitaire
Walt Whitman at the Reburial of Poe
The Track
The Road from Pisa to Florence
On the Meridian
Rimbaud Crossing the Alps
Nocturne for Miranda
On Tour with Rita
# 1 Mexico
#7 Vermont
#11 New Year's Day
#13 Boston

From A Short History of the Island of Butterflies (1986)

The Public Gardens
Cardiac Arrest
Construction Site, Windy Night
Losing Altitude
The House Where Lord Rochester Died
Leaving Town
The Partisan
Reflections on a Bowl of Kumquats, 1936
Winter Night
The Milky Way from Brenda's Lawn
Jeoffry the Cat
Musical Chairs

From Desperate Characters (1988)

Krazy Kat
Green Animals
Collecting Stamps in Port-au-Prince
Elegy for my Grandmother
Christmas, 1956

From In the Year of the Comet (1992)

Outside Perpignan in Heavy Rain
Green Chair on a Fire Escape in Autumn
Reading the Sunday Comics, Summer 1962
Epitaph on a Dictator
Mrs. Luna
Through the Window of the All-Night Restaurant
In the Country
Scarlet Lake
Cancer Ward
On the Peninsula
Approaching Antarctica
In the Year of the Comet

From 5° & Other Poems (1995)

Hibiscus Tea
The Quiñero Sisters, 1968
The Skeleton of a Trout in Shallow Water
When the Hurricane Swerved Toward the Island
After a Long Illness
A Storm
Assignation After Attending a Funeral
The Palm Reader
Hanalei Valley

#1 Down the long avenues the north wind
#3 In a letter to his brother Theo
#5 Displayed in the coin shop window
#6 Between the thick ice and the gray waters
#10 A man with a telescope on a marble runway
#11 "Iron occurs native in meteorites (according to
#13 In 1910 Houdini was the first man to fly
#15 An angel is signing his name in blue light
#16 On the other side of the world
#18 John Davis, explorer and navigator, died the night
#19 In October, 1888, Paul Gauguin, joined van Gogh
#22 The Hyperboreans - "people beyond the North Wind" -
#24 The polestar (Polaris) during the Dark Ages
#25 The Voyager 2 satellite, launched from Florida
#26 "Iron" in Sumerian means "metal from heaven."
#31 Of the eighteen cities called Alexandria that Alexander
#32 Refracted by frozen clouds, the moon's

From The Creation of the Night Sky (1998)

X Rays
Jupiter Place, 1955
Birds of Paradise in Ice Water
Uncle Phillip's Funeral in Las Vegas
On a Clear Night
Suicide Watch
A Visitor
The Creation of the Night Sky

From Atomic Field: Two Poems (2000)

#7 A girl dyeing her bathing suit in a tub of hot water
#14 There is always someone on crutches in this luncheonette
#20 At the bus stop a blind man sells colored pencils
#22 At P.S. 28
#24 Six doors down, a beautiful young woman
#25 In my most recurring nightmare
#27 Successive snowstorms have lined the streets
#28 With a shard of ice I scratch my name
#35 The flesh the flesh-eating plants eat
#38 On the 27th of October I am told to say my prayers
#40 When my friend casts his line by moonlight
#41 In pointy shoes that lace up the sides - twist shoes -
#44 In a house outlined by Christmas lights

#1 On New Year's Eve
#3 A room illuminated by the rays of black crystals
#4 In the waiting room a woman
#7 When she comes off her shift at the VA hospital
#9 The pulse I feel behind my knees
#13 Sleeping in a cold room on the rue de Rennes
#16 We're on a mountain overlooking Spain that can only be climbed
#23 The rain crossing the tarred rooftops stops suddenly
#26 The nightclub lies in a labyrinth of tunnels
#27 As the sun gilds the Arno and shades the stern faces
#29 A church filled with fiery flowers
#34 On the southern coast of Crete
#38 Today while snow slants into Manhattan
#39 The books are piled high in the corners
#43 Trucks are salting the streets
#44 From my corner table beneath a blue light
#45 Tomorrow, the New Year, the world begins anew

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