Sunday, November 1, 2009

Praise for Poet PJ Nights

Maine poets and journals are particularly dear to me, for that is where I dwell, in a secluded corner, no less, fifty miles from the nearest traffic light. One of the most impressive poets and editors in the entire state is PJ Nights. She has done about as much for poetry as anyone here.

For the last six years, PJ has run an outstanding journal: From East to West: Bicoastal Verse. You can find it on the web:

It not only features Maine poets, but provides a bridge across the nation. Not an insular zine, content to focus on local color and parochial pride, From East To West is consistently vanguard in terms of daring work that flouts the norm, questing after a fresh lens on everything from hooved wilderness to global imbroglios and brow-knitting angst.

PJ has bolstered the value and importance of her journal through a longstanding practice: inviting writers in Maine and elsewhere to present a featured selection of their work, alongside a detailed biography. East To West is, in toto, an historically important document, where Mainers can learn about veteran poets in detail.

Her outreach has another benefit: a self-esteem boost, much needed in the rejection-fraught realm of writing. I can speak from personal experience here. PJ contacted me a few years ago, out of the blue. I was suffering through depression, pining away, and her sudden reinforcement gave me confidence and strength. She has done this for many dedicated eccentrics over the years, and deserves more kudos than she will ever get. Such is the fate of all editors, but especially the good ones.

So, in my own little way, I would like to offer a great big THANK YOU to PJ Nights for years of enriching the literary world and upping the morale of those of us who curse over a scribble-filled sheet of tormented paper.

Last but not least, PJ is a world class poet. Below is a sample. You can see her mastery of language and nuance, her ability to artistically navigate the complexities of life, exemplified in the poem below by a tortuous relationship.

You’ll also see that her writing is brilliantly triadic, joining the psychological, the scientific, and the occult. She teaches physics and has aptly employed the insights of that esoteric discipline, adding a layer of meaning to her literary canvas. The reader gets wowed by a fusion of aesthetic wordplay, existential inference, and the relativistic shape of reality itself.

Brava, PJ! A big Horned Hoot of Approval!

Owl out.



towards a unified theory

what we are comes of chance collisions,
encounters with flotsam — offal and plums

floating in a flood of language we choose
what remains — the fantastic: your coat a sail

on the icy pond, you whooping and flying
on your skates as if caught in a griffin’s claws

the everyday: gossiping as we hang our wet jeans
on the line when we can’t afford the dryer

mornings are a salvo of love promises,
afternoons we come undone, spiraling apart

in our bubble chamber, evenings we calm
ourselves doing mathematics on the fingers

of clocks each day’s unspoken words
become our fluttered history, orbiting us

like the gold planets of an orrery (though much
less neatly as if gravity threatens to let go)

in night’s hallucinations we find ourselves
lassoed, one to the other

copyright PJ NIGHTS


  1. Terrific poem by P.J., one of our favorites ... it first appeared in The Centrifugal Eye, May 2009.

  2. Amen! From East to West was one of the first places that published my work as well. I liked the format (send us what you like in a chunk) When I was contacted, I was flattered and my confidence got a big boost. ~Jennifer VanBuren