The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons imagines a human mission to Mars, a consequence of Earth’s devastation from climate change and natural disaster. As humans begin to colonize the planet, history inevitably repeats itself. Dystopian and ecopoetic, this collection of poetry examines the impulse and danger of the colonial mindset, and the ways that gendered violence and ecological destruction, body and land, are linked. “This time we’ll form more carefully,” one voice hopes in “Ecopoiesis: The Terraforming.” “We’ve started on empty / plains. We’ll vaccinate. We’ll make the new deal fair.” But the new planet becomes a canvas on which the trespasses of the American Frontier are rehearsed and remade.
Featuring a multiplicity of narratives and voices, this book presents the reader with sonnet crowns, application forms, and large-scale landscape poems that seem to float across the field of the page. With these unusual forms, Rogers also reminds us of previous exploitations on our own planet: industrial pollution in rural China, Marco Polo’s racist accounts of the Batak people in Indonesia, and natural disasters that result in displaced refugees. Striking, thought-provoking, and necessary, The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons offers a new parable for our modern times.
86 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN 978-1-946724-26-7 (pbk)
ISBN 978-1-946724-27-4 (e-book)
PRAISE FOR THE TILT TORN AWAY FROM THE SEASONS
A Rumpus Poetry Book Club selection
“Rogers’s otherworldly debut glitters at the intersection of science fiction and lyric poetry, her imaginative poems rocketing into future climate disaster on Earth and the colonization of Mars—’a world as red as that / inside our bodies.'”—Hannah VanderHart, Boston Globe Best Books of 2020
“In this attentive and imaginative contribution to ecopoetics, Rogers weaves her celebration of earth and its beauty with warnings of the mistakes of mankind. The collection creates a sense of nostalgia for what still is and garners within readers a desire to protect the earth that Rogers’ persona has lost.”—Shay Hawkins, Memorious: A Journal of New Verse and Fiction
“The woman at the end of the final poem sings, as Rogers’ poems do; life even when ending or hopeless is still beautiful, persistent, singing even when the altered atmosphere changes the pitch, thinking of a past we regret and can never recover, taking (perhaps heedless or futile) risks for the good of others.”—Monika Cassel, EcoTheo Review
“Her visionary leaps are as bold as NASA’s though the impact of an interplanetary trip on the human spirit is her central occupation. In her poems wonder is in tension with alienation, excitement with loss and grief. Rogers demands that we explore how a human expedition to Mars is likely to play out. Wisely she turns to the histories of imperialism and colonialism as she speculates on our future interplanetary travels.”—David Roderick, On the Seawall
“In the act of showing us what it might be like to live in a vivid if estranged lyric present, Rogers also convinces us, nearly, that the pull of ‘gravitas’ can be escaped in tandem with that of gravity itself, and that history—that rock that anchors us to our past—is soluble in the vastness of space.” —Arne Weingart, Terrain.org
“Each subsequent reading reveals more layers, complexity and ingenuity and consistently arresting images and phrases. These poems predict one unlikely version of our near-future and moreover warn of the likely devastation of our current path.” —Kenyon Review
“The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons is formally adroit and innovative, set on Mars at a point in the future when environmental collapse has happened on Earth. Rogers’s striking narrative is a parable of imperialism. It alludes to America’s history of ‘Curiosity,’ exploration, and providence that have too often steered us wrong. As with the best dystopian literature, The Tilt Torn Away from Seasons is timely and urgent, and offers a dire warning for the present—and yet, Rogers’s poems find a way to go out singing.” —Shara McCallum
“In Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers’s The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons, a terraformed Mars can only be colonized by those with perfect hearts. Circled by moons named after dread and fear, Rogers seeks a reshaping of language to name the new, the hoped-for, the nearly-possible.” —Traci Brimhall
“Looking into the night sky, the various points of light are far from reach. And yet they, all of them, have held our imagination and our desire for centuries. In The Tilt Torn Away from the Seasons, the reader becomes as captivated as the speaker-poet. Further, these heavenly bodies become captured by the human body: even as a bit of machinery roves over a surface or ‘Breathing requires violence’ or we meet the likes of Marco Polo. Elizabeth Lindsey Rogers has given us an outpouring of beauty in these elegantly discursive poems. On the anniversary of our footprint on the moon, I believe this collection is a valuable look outward and within.” —Kimiko Hahn