The Price of Scarlet: Poems

The Price of Scarlet: Poems

by Brianna Noll
The Price of Scarlet: Poems

The Price of Scarlet: Poems

by Brianna Noll


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A honeycomb long vacated by honeybees still possesses an "echo of the swarm, / a lingering song." Living things are made and make themselves: "My bones came first. / Like long needles, / they knitted muscle / and tendon / and tissue and skin. / Filled themselves / with marrow."

In her debut collection, Brianna Noll fuses the scientific and fantastic, posing probing questions that explore the paradoxes of experience. Interweaving themes of creation, art, and nature, the poet gives voice to animate and inanimate figures such as woolly mammoths, star-nosed moles, cells, mylar balloons, and puzzle boxes. Her vivid poems obscure the line between what is literal and what is figurative. The result is alchemic and ethereal—each verse intricately layered with sharp observation as well as emotional and intellectual exploration and questioning.

Collectively, the poems draw significantly on Japanese culture and language in their imagery, with cultural nuances and implications embedded in words and expressions. They tend to be tied, not to subjects, but to ways of seeing and considering the world. Noll's lyrical voice reflects a curious and imaginative approach that results in tight poems, typically enjambed, which build together into a thoughtful collection. Her work offers ways of seeing and considering the world that exceed our lived experience, begging the reader to consider how far we are willing to go when faced with roadblocks, doubts, and uncertainties.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780813168982
Publisher: University Press of Kentucky
Publication date: 02/21/2017
Series: University Press of Kentucky New Poetry & Prose Series
Pages: 118
Product dimensions: 5.90(w) x 8.80(h) x 0.50(d)
Age Range: 18 Years

About the Author

Brianna Noll is a postdoctoral fellow in teaching and mentoring in the Honors College at the University of Illinois at Chicago. In 2013, she helped found the literary magazine, The Account: A Journal of Poetry, Prose, and Thought, for which she serves as poetry editor. Her poems have appeared in numerous journals, including the Georgia Review, 32 Poems, the Kenyon Review Online, Passages North, Puerto del Sol, and Salt Hill.

Table of Contents


Nocturne 3

He Awakens Our Imagination, Our Desire to Transform 4

A Polarized Scene 6

Flavor Is the Price of Scarlet 7

Questioning Diurnal Thinking 9

The Sound of the Wind in Newport 10

After the Storm Passes 12

Some Questions about De-extinction 13

Medusa Likens Her Gifts to Pseudoscience 15

On the Violence of Doubt 16

Pictures at an Exposition IS

Haibun on the 650-1b. Grand Piano Standing Upright in Biscayne Bay 20

Pythia of the Fields 21

Mysteries of the Sightline of the Ever-Virgin Mother 23

When the Crickets Clash 24

The Need for Ornamental Hermits Is on the Decline 26

The Homeopath Is a Confectioner 27

Unsung Elegies Offend 29

As Winter Ends, We Marvel at the Sun 31


The Imaginary Space Where Parallel Lines Intersect 35

Missed Connection 36

Alternate Plumage 37

First Impression as Enchiridion or Score 38

Intricacies of Our Japanese Puzzle Box 39

On Social Graces 41

A Pagan Love Story 42

The Heart Is No Shapeshifter 43

Hymn 45

In the Alternate Universe 46

It's Hubris Makes Us Think Ourselves Large 47

A World Made of String 49

When the Difference Is Almost Nil 50

Revision 52

Two Kinds of Conception 53

Creation Myth 54

Lament, with a Line from Tennyson 56

The Chosen 57

A Cunning Ecosystem 59

Corrosives 61

On the Flood, Grown More Perilous 63

Sometimes, We Think of Our Place in the World 65

A Bird in the Hand Is Worth Two in the Bush 67

Wabi Sabi 68

A Single Mulberry Tree and a Colony of Silkworms Hanging Like Fruit 69


It' Not Glossolalia 73

Vantage 75

What Returns from Sea 76

Kintsugi 78

What Bedtime Stories Become 80

Divination 82

Well know to imagine the horse's snout, the gelatinous head of the octopus 84

Resonance 85

A Lesson in Sight 86

Yugen 87

Dawn 88

Not Ruins: Reclamations 90

Shibui 91

Miuka 93

Understanding by Comparison 95

Everything Beautiful Has a Name 96

Material and Transcendent 97

Acknowledgments 99

Glossary 101

Index of First Lines 103

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