INTAGLIO DAUGHTERS by Laynie Browne
published September 2023
perfect bound trade paperback
9 x 6 inches, 85 pages
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Author’s note: Intaglio Daughters is an homage text for the poet Lyn Hejinian. All titles (in italics above each poem) are taken from her book The Unfollowing. In the preface to her book she writes “I wanted each line to be as difficult to accept on the basis of the previous and subsequent lines as death is for we who are alive—a comparison that I make intentionally, since my intention in writing the sequence of poems I’m calling ‘The Unfollowing’ was to compose a set of elegies.” In considering a form for Intaglio Daughters I wondered—what follows loss and rupture? What follows unfollowing? The mourning process often involves a non-sequential experience of time—and many returns, wavelike, in spirals or contractions. In keeping with this idea of rounds, sinuous or labyrinth-time, reaching backward and forward simultaneously, my book is a series of rondels, with the final line in each poem returning to, and resounding Hejinian’s language.
Praise for INTAGLIO DAUGHTERS
Laynie Browne’s deeply moving Intaglio Daughters follows Lyn Hejinian’s The Unfollowing section by section. Hejinian’s book deals with the effect of sudden loss. It might be too simple to say that Browne’s is a gesture of reconnection and healing—but it wouldn’t be entirely wrong either. Each of these rondel jewel-like poems takes off from a line of Hejinian’s and circles back at the end to rewrite/ re-envision it. It is Browne’s uncannily good ear that makes it work. In an age of suspicion and careless wreckage, Browne’s homage to Hejinian, her affirmation of relation and lineage, is both surprising and necessary.
—Rae Armantrout, author of Finalists
Brilliant, playful, tender, intimate, and funny, Laynie Browne’s Intaglio Daughters is an homage that follows Lyn Hejinian’s The Unfollowing through unreason’s door. Each 13-line poem begins with a line from Hejinian’s text and ends with the same line remixed and re-sounded. The effect is dazzling, vibrational—as Browne puts it, “enacting a rhyme.” Following unfollowing does not impose logic onto Hejinian’s non-sequitur sonnet elegies, but instead activates vivid soundscapes of relationality. If intaglio prints a line from etched out absence, maybe intaglio daughters are beings born of loss who take up the elegiac project to wield spells against death. Browne demonstrates how sound itself—like love, and like loss—renders experience luminously charged. In Intaglio Daughters, Browne sings the skies and songs that Hejinian’s work opens up in and for contemporary poetry. Celebrating the generative powers of mentorship, friendship, and love, this is an amazing book.
--Claire Marie Stancek, author of wyrd] bird
Laynie Browne’s Intaglio Daughters simmers Fahrenheit, as fecund utterance, always renewing itself via living phonemic activity.
—Will Alexander, author of Divine Blue Light (for John Coltrane)
Browne’s world is conjured out of fairy-tale lexis—satin, cinders, gauntlets, fortune tellers, and millet seeds. The paratactic mode hovers near sense but never quite rests on it; as Hejinian once said of non sequiturs: “It is very hard to find things that are completely unrelated to each other […] because the human imagination can connect anything to anything.”
—Sylee Gore, “Intaglio Daughters,” The Poetry Foundation's Harriet Books, September 6, 2023
...the poems in Intaglio Daughters are propelled by language, sound and meaning, offering a way through and beyond the possibilities of what language offers. These poems exist in response to a specific work, and riffing off into further directions. Hers is a gestured lyric, one that sweeps a hand or arm across narrative, almost akin to a monologue or performative speech, but one deeply attuned to the shape and sound of words. “We have entered the opposite / side of each minute.” she writes, early on in the collection. Further on in the book, offering: “Once upon a time the unhappened / spoke: Bake a loaf of bread—to keep tongue brave / Give your beloved: twins with molten hours / Bury yourself in earth up to your neck. You, thief of beauty / will have no rest even in your grave [.]”
—rob mclennan, “Letters Inscribed in Snow, Practice Has No Sequel and Intaglio Daughters, by Laynie Browne,” Periodicities, September 1, 2023