AT NIGHT THE STATES by Alice Notley
Yellow Press, 1987, First edition, 76 pp., 5 1/2" X 8 1/2", Softcover
Among Notley’s most famous works is At Night the States, an elegy for Ted Berrigan written two years after his death. The words “at night the states” serve as a refrain that marks the beginning of each stanza. Notley has said that her decision to place the refrain at the beginning of the stanza rather than the end is what allowed her to continue writing the poem. A fairly long poem that Notley generally reads quickly, “At Night the States” gives the reader a feeling of being pulled through grief and back into life, with irregular syntax signaling the disruption to day-to-day living caused by a great loss.