Body, in Good Light

Body, in Good Light by Erin Rodoni
Sixteen Rivers Press, 2017

Finalist for the Northern California Independent Booksellers Award and the Foreword Indies Award in Poetry

The first section of Body, in Good Light, opens with the words “Between any two points, there is a love story”: points on a compass, points in time, between lovers and strangers, mother and child. Throughout this debut collection, Erin Rodoni distills experience for its essence, rendered in language that is fierce, tender, penetrating in its precision, and astonishing in its turns of phrase. Whether describing “turncoat cells” of cancer, the half-smile scar of a caesarian, or the alien landscape of childhood seared by wildfire, Rodoni’s poems remind us how tenuous our lives are, how each moment arrives as inescapably painful and miraculous as birth.

“I walk toward you barefoot,” writes Erin Rodoni, a poet who can speak with the same ease of private elegies and public journeys, of childbirth and of changing trains in Krakow, of grief on losing a loved one to cancer, and of “borrowed countries / where bougainvillea scales balconies // like a romance language.” Here is a book that journeys out into the world, and also inward—into the mysteries of private life, of the body, where “bliss, like a memory, can be unearthed by scent.” I love how wisdom enters the moment of passion in these poems, where we see ourselves living here, on this earth, “believing // in these bodies.” This is a marvelous debut. –Ilya Kaminsky

“The aesthetic that courses throughout Erin Rodoni’s sumptuous debut—tender and bittersweet, but also clear-eyed and unflinching—recalls Rilke’s ninth Duino Elegy, in which the earth’s dream is “to resurrect / in us invisibly.” That ache of regeneration and rejuvenation is made manifest in Body, in Good Light. In the section entitled “A Sort of Light We See as Flesh,” the poem “The Chapel” brings us to a woman’s memorial service, where Rodoni faces “an altar draped in fabric / that belongs to no faith.” At the end, though, she says: “We praise/ the faith of whatever machine // keeps the warmth in her hands.” By extension, that warmth extends to the poet, to those she holds dear, and, thankfully, to us. –Thomas Centolella

“Erin Rodoni’s debut poetry collection Body, In Good Light is a breathtaking tribute gracefully probing the wounds of grief, the joys of birth, and the intricate yet intimate connections between them. Body, In Good Light employs a variety of forms and a distinct striking voice to reel the reader into this well-crafted and heart-raw book of poetry.” — Francine Rockey, Poetry International

“Erin Rodoni’s Body, in Good Light has enough light to charm your eyes open wide but there will be tears enough before the end.  Rodoni has poems built on sustained intensity but without any anxiety, passion without pontification . . . Erin Rodoni’s Body, in Good Light is flat out excellent.  You should give a copy to every woman you know.  Wouldn’t hurt any of the menfolk either.” — Michael Dennis, Today’s Book of Poetry

“At times gentle and nurturing, at times in-your-face and demanding, the poems in Erin Rodoni’s first published collection require meticulous attention from the reader. Luckily for us, our attention is easily given. Body, In Good Light (Sixteen Rivers Press, 2017) , transitions with ease back and forth between an external exploration of the world around us to closer, more internal musings. From the opening epigraph to the closing acknowledgements, Rodoni draws the reader in with poignant observations of life and loss.”–Morgan Peacock, Columbia Poetry Review