This Luminous

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From the vast complexities of a world in which synesthesia is our natural translator, Allan Peterson’s poems convey the consistent message that the ordinary isn’t. Selected from books and chapbooks covering almost thirty years of writing, Peterson’s work draws heavily from landscapes like the Gulf Coast, the sciences, history, and the author’s background in visual arts. Details of perception and observation demonstrate why these reflective works, often dense with images and intuitive jumps, have received national and international recognitions.

Purchase This Luminous

Published: March 4, 2019

University Press of Florida
Barnes & Noble

Excerpt from Stephanie Burt’s Introduction

“What he can do for things seen—for leaf-edges and lights—he can do for emotions too, showing us how odd they are, and how they work slowly, beautifully or counterintuitively”– Stephanie Burt, from the introduction.

Praise for Allan Peterson’s Previous Work

“Peterson is one of our most valuable poet-thinkers and thinker-poets, a writer who can show us how much is within our grasp and much is beyond it.” — LA Review of Books

“His observing eye, as astute as the most finely-honed telephoto lens, is such that he¹s able to transform even the ordinary into something so exquisite it provokes wonder and awe.” —Mary Jo Bang

“Like ‘Brazil’s undiscovered caverns of amethyst’, Allan Peterson’s Fragile Acts is a major find.” —John Ashbery

“He puts music to the tension between the desperate human experience and the cool removal of the cosmos. His poems are refreshingly discrete artifacts—perfected and edgy—raw at the same time. “ —Laura Kasischke

“Allan Peterson’s meditations on domestic tranquility and ecocatastrophe are so smart that they could actually make you smarter” —Boston Review

“Soul-poppingly magnetic”—The Rumpus

Information about the Author

Allan Peterson

Both poet and visual artist, Allan Peterson is the author of five previous poetry collections and is a recipient of fellowships from The National Endowment for the Arts and the State of Florida. His second book, All the Lavish in Common, won the Juniper Prize from the University of Massachusetts. His third, Fragile Acts, from McSweeney’s, was a finalist for both The National Book Critics Circle and Oregon Book Awards.

Excerpt from This Luminous


Turn off the light
The hemming begins at once
You hear the engine of the sewing heart
stitching into sleep so you won’t come loose
Out the window light is still moving
that sees through your bones
I hold a flashlight to the fire in my hands
How can I see into my skin’s little blue rivers
and not out from my eyelids
How can the water that holds up everything
slip through my fingers
How can we be this luminous
and people go right on talking