NIGHT UNTO NIGHT, BY MARTHA COLLINS
Like Day Unto Day, Martha Collins’s follow up collection, Night Unto Night, consists of six lyric sequences written through several self-imposed restraints. Thus, the poems feel as though they are in an elegant vise. Each section is comprised of a fixed number of lines, most often six or seven; however, the tightness of this form is balanced by the playfulness of its language: “. . .will not rejoice in the death of even / this settled account this late / taken down yet I yet . . . // my 3:00 a.m. robin in darkness / cannot drive out darkness sings / for his hour, sings for the light.” At the line level, Collins’s language moves elegantly, making her restraints seem effortless while also containing immense energy and precision. She displays a masterful ability to work within limitations and then to maximize them, so as to only enhance her work. And, although each section interacts with time-contextual subject matters that are explained in her endnotes, the poems themselves paint an expansive emotional portrait: “7 / My friend is gone, / body inside body / of earth, sea / of atoms, she is, / her husband said, in a state/of grace and will / be forever. // 8 / Waterfall sculpted itself into water- / fall, using cold / to mold itself solid / and still, as if to / be forever / falling without ever falling.” Night Unto Night completes the twelve-poem sequence began in her previous book with an ethereal clarity that invites readers in and keeps them close.