In Downtown, southern-born poet Nicole Callihan confronts life in downtown Brooklyn. A meditation on class and race, marriage and children, Callihan’s fractured narrative tries to make sense of what it means to be alive and to, ultimately, find redemption in the day-to-day.
"The energy of Nicole Callihan's new chapbook, Downtown is kinetic. Image to interwoven image, the poem shouts out a revelation, then moves around the corner to find another: -I wander the sky until morning. / Oklahoma floods./ My mother drives home from her 12-hour shift at the ER. / What gets washed away?/ I am an old dirt road./ Washed away, out, up.- Callihan is a master of juxtaposition. A crane seen from a hospital window that's lit up with lights forming a heart becomes just a few lines later, a reminder or a beloved, dead poet: -Heart. Crane.- Callihan's images in this beautiful book resonate, stay fixed and return to your mind again and again: a man leaning against the blue wall, an apartment high in the sky, the Ancient Greek chorus of the people on the Brooklyn avenue below. Downtown will pull you in and not let you leave its dreamlike trance until you, like the speaker, transform."-
--Iris Jamahl Dunkle, Sonoma County Poet Laureate 2016-2017